It's going to be an interesting summer for Carmelo Anthony no matter what ends up happening to the Knicks star.
There's the potential of a divorce hanging over his head (check the gossip pages), and Melo knows Knicks team president Phil Jackson wants nothing to do with the future Hall of Famer and would gladly pack Melo's bags if he could find a taker for his services. The only problem is Melo owns a no-trade clause—which Jackson gladly gave him three summers ago—and a 15 percent trade kicker that means whatever team acquires him will have to pay more for his services than the Knicks currently are.
So Melo's options are kind of limited, to say the least. But there are a few teams out there that could make a play for the dynamic scorer. Some are obvious and have been widely discussed. One is kind of under the radar. Four of them should be contenders next year. The other is a wasteland featuring epic amounts of dysfunction, paranoia, and a future void of success.
While he hilariously gets to call the shots in the process, we can't wait for the full-blown melodrama—pun intended—to play out over the summer. So before all the wheelings and dealings start popping when free agency begins, familiarize yourself with the likeliest destinations for Carmelo Anthony's services next season.
New York Knicks
Odds Melo Stays There: 2-5
Melo isn’t going anywhere because Phil Jackson isn’t going to get shit for him, and Anthony isn’t going to waive his no-trade clause unless it’s for a contender. So, Melo for like a couple vets and a 15th man? No thanks. This is an unfortunate set of circumstances. Carmelo doesn’t deserve to be treated this way and Phil clearly could give two shits about how Melo feels with the way he’s handling the situation publicly. Phil has bigger fish to fry, like running Kristips Porzingis out of town.
Why anyone would want to be a Knick in the year of our Lord 2017 is beyond me, but both Carmelo and Porzingawd wanna stay in the Rotten Apple. Leave it to the Knicks to somehow always stay relevant, whether good or bad; this circus is here to stay. James Dolan should do his job and fire Phil Jackson right now! I would have my bags packed if I were Melo. Who needs this? Anthony’s feverish need to win in New York and have a statue erected in his likeness could be the only reason. That or his brand. #StayMe7o —A.D.
Los Angeles Clippers
Odds Melo Ends Up There: 5-1
The easy thing for the Los Angeles Clippers to do would be this: re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to max deals, find a young, inexpensive shooter to replace an aging J.J. Redick, and go out and try it again. This would be a terrible idea. Yes, the Clippers have had a degree of success with their current lineup—if not a Western Conference Finals appearance—and yes, they could easily blame injuries for early exits like this year’s. But there comes a point when a core has run its course, and for the Clippers that time is now. The Griffin-Paul-DeAndre Jordan triumvirate has been together for seven seasons without as much a conference championship to show for it. And, at 32, Paul is entering the tail end of his prime. What he needs is a pure scorer who wants the ball in his hands at the end of games. Who he needs is Carmelo Anthony. —R.B.
Odds Melo Ends Up There: 25-1
The Celtics are going to lose the Eastern Conference Finals, and once they do Danny Ainge will have some big decisions to make like what to do in June's NBA Draft with the No. 1 pick and whether making a move for Carmelo Anthony is smart. We all know Boston isn't going to get over the LeBron James hump until they either get more scoring help or Bron slows down. With guys like Jaylen Brown, Markelle Fultz (when they draft him), and the Nets 2018 first-round pick, plus Coach of the Year candidate Brad Stevens, the Celtics have an extremely promising nucleus for the future.
Yes, they have Isaiah Thomas for another season, but does he become expendable if Boston drafts a point guard? Would Ainge seriously entertain an offer if Phil Jackson wanted a haul in return? We know Jackson covets Jae Crowder, but would Ainge feel comfortable giving up one of his best defenders and something else for Melo's offense? From Anthony's perspective, #StayMe7o shouldn’t hesitate to waive his no-trade clause if Boston comes calling. —J.F.