The NBA offseason has been an exercise in perpetual motion. Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving went to Boston; Paul Millsap went to Denver; Paul George went to Oklahoma City; Jimmy Butler went to Minnesota; and Cleveland fans went out of their minds. In fact, it feels like almost everyone moved on except for Carmelo Anthony.
The 33-year-old is still stuck in Gotham as rumors continue to swirl around his future. Melo has made it clear that he’d like to go to Houston (flood waters and all) but the Knicks have been playing their cards close to their chest. While they haven’t publicly acknowledged their desire to cut ties with Anthony, they also haven’t included him in promotional material for the upcoming season.
Training camp is just two weeks away and things are about to get really awkward, really fast, if the situation isn’t addressed. Matt McEwan and I sat down to discuss where Anthony should/will end up for the 2017-18 season and what the hooded wonder has to offer, in the latest episode of what we’re calling the “Matt Ryan Show.” (The name is sure to be an SEO monster. Don’t forget to checkout Episode 1, when we broke down D-Wade’s future.)
WHERE WILL CARMELO ANTHONY GO?
RM: The Rockets are the obvious destination, given Melo’s preference, but Houston doesn’t have anything that appeals to the Knicks after gutting their roster to acquire Chris Paul. I still think he’ll end up in Clutch City, but a third team will have to get involved to grease the wheels.
MM: Wherever the hoodie factory is located. Oh, you can buy them anywhere? Hmm … this just got a lot tougher. I’ll go off the beaten path here and say Cleveland winds up with Melo. The Rockets have so little to offer, whereas the Cavs are the proud new owners of a potential top-five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
ODDS ANTHONY IS A ____ TO START THE 2017-18 SEASON
- New York Knick: 5/4
- Houston Rocket: 2/1
- Cleveland Cavalier: 7/1
- FIELD: 28/3
ODDS ANTHONY FINISHES 2018-18 AS A KNICK: 9/2
WHAT CAN THE KNICKS EXPECT IN RETURN FOR ANTHONY?
RM: Is a bag of game worn jockstraps a possibility? Melo’s desire to leave NYC has been so well documented that the Knicks will be lucky to get anything at all. I suspect they’ll ask for a first-round pick and a rotation player to add to their young core, but they could end up with a first-rounder and a pair of second-round picks instead.
MM: I guess I jumped the gun a little here. The Knicks will get a first-round pick and their choice of Jeff Green, Edy Tavares, Cedi Osman, Kay Felder, Jose Calderon, or the likely preferred option of a bag of game-worn jockstraps.
ODDS THE KNICKS RECEIVE AT LEAST ONE FIRST-ROUND PICK FOR ANTHONY: 1/4
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM ANTHONY IN 2017-18?
RM: A whole lot of pouting. Melo has never been particularly good at hiding his emotions and he’ll be at his surly best until his trade request is finally accommodated. His attitude could be especially toxic on a young team, which is why the Knicks should send him packing long before training camp opens.
MM: Considering neither Cleveland nor Houston are desperate for an iso-scorer, I believe we’ll see a few firsts for the ten-time All-Star. Melo will average less than 18 field-goal attempts per game, less than 20 points per game, and he’ll actually give almost a half-assed effort on defense. If Anthony is really lucky, he may even avoid being publicly chastised by Phil Jackson.
ODDS ANTHONY IS SEEN POUTING IN 2017-18: 1/99
O/U FIELD-GOAL ATTEMPTS PER GAME FOR ANTHONY IN 2017-18: 15.5
O/U POINTS PER GAME FOR ANTHONY IN 2017-18: 18.5
O/U EFFORT LEVEL ON DEFENSE BY ANTHONY IN 2017-18: “QUARTER-ASS”
DOES HOUSTON EVEN NEED CARMELO ANTHONY?
RM: That depends on what version of Carmelo they get. They could definitely use Olympics Melo, the deadeye gunner who spreads the court and cleans the glass. I’m guessing they would pass on New York Melo, the player who pounds the air out of the ball and appears to be allergic to defense. James Harden already fills that role quite nicely.
MM: Do I need a yacht? No, but I’d like one and wouldn’t say no if someone offered me one at a (serious) discount. Melo is a better three-point shooter than his .346 career-average suggests. The problem lies in getting him to be effective playing away from the ball. Realistically, throwing money at JJ Redick would have been more beneficial to the Rockets.
ROCKETS ODDS TO WIN THE 2018 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP WITHOUT ANTHONY: 10/1
ROCKETS ODDS TO WIN THE 2018 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP WITH ANTHONY: 9/2
SHOULD THE NBA ALLOW ANTHONY TO WEAR A HOODIE DURING GAMES?
RM: Absolutely! Just think of all the logos you could put on that extra fabric. Purists would hate it, but the NBA’s marketing department would love it.
MM: Why not? I can’t think of one thing that could go wrong …
ODDS ANTHONY EVER WEARS A HOODIE IN AN NBA GAME: 99/1
O/U PPG FOR “HOODIE MELO” IN THE NBA: 44.5
IS CARMELO ANTHONY A TOP-50 PLAYER?
RM: Definitely. In spite of the recent drama, Melo is still the leading Olympic scorer in U.S. history and he ranks in the top 20 in the NBA in career average and career points. He can score in his sleep, and he’s especially deadly when he’s motivated and surrounded by other elite players.
MM: Absolutely not. It boils down to this for me: before all these super-teams started, if you were an elite player — not great, but elite — you would shoulder your team deep into the playoffs; Carmelo Anthony has only made it out of the first round of the playoffs twice, and has never played in an NBA Finals. He may be a top 50 scorer, but not a top 50 player.
ODDS ANTHONY IS INDUCTED INTO THE BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME: 1/9
ODDS ANTHONY WILL MAKE THE 2017-18 ALL-STAR GAME: 1/2
ODDS ANTHONY WILL RETURN TO THE PLAYOFFS IN 2017-18: 3/7