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Could Detroit Offer Both Carmelo and the Knicks a Fresh Start?

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Phil Jackson has made no secret of his desire to trade Carmelo Anthony this offseason. While I am still a fan of Melo and think he can still be a productive figure on a contending team, I agree that it will be best for the Knicks to move forward without him. With this trade, and subsequent draft picks and free agent signings, New York can position itself to emerge from this “Melo-drama” as a team ready to compete in the East.

Detroit holds the 12th pick in this year’s draft, and has publicly stated their intention to trade that pick for a “win now veteran”. Carmelo Anthony definitely qualifies, and with the Knicks desperate to hit the reset button, I believe this trade to be mutually beneficial for both parties.

Detroit would trade the number 12 pick, along with Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic to match Carmelo’s salary. New York would trade Anthony and two future 1st round picks This will give the Knicks two lottery picks in this year’s draft, and effectively makes Kristaps Porzingis the face of the franchise.

Behind the marketing of the “Porzin-God”, the Knicks become a potentially attractive option once again for free agents. With Melo gone and Derrick Rose’s contract off the books, New York will have enough salary cap space to offer a max free agent this offseason. I expect they may offer several RFA’s, such as Otto Porter, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, and Joe Ingles; all great two-way players who would fit well with their current roster.

But nothing about the way Phil has been running this team strikes me as “play it safe”, and I have a feeling that he will swing for the fences once again this offseason. One of the best free agents available, that the Knicks have a shot at, is Blake Griffin. While New York already has a promising young big man combination in Kristaps and Willy Hernangomez, pairing Blake next to Porzingis immediately rejuvenates a franchise seeking to return to the forefront of the NBA.

For Detroit, their scoring woes were present early and often last season. As a team, the Pistons ranked 26th in the league in points per game and were one of the NBA’s worst three-point shooting teams. Departing with their best bench scorer will be tough, but acquiring a volume scorer, like Melo, will help.

Anthony has converted on better than 40% of his jump shot attempts in each of the past five seasons. This year, he shot 41.6% on jump shots, on over 1000 attempts, the same percentage and similar usage rate as Steph Curry. Although, Curry made 173 more three-pointers than Carmelo. Playing around the post presence of Andre Drummond should relegate Anthony to be more of a three-point threat than he was in the Knicks triangle/iso offense.

Carmelo Anthony playing for the Detroit Pistons would also bring back “what if” commentary over the 2003 Draft blunder that was Darko Milicic. That Pistons team didn’t need Melo to win a title, and I don’t know that adding Carmelo to this team now will bring them a title either. Nonetheless, Coach Stan Van Gundy needs the help of a veteran presence to shift morale, and get this organization trending back in the right direction. Melo comes with well-documented risks and a steep price tag but without a long term commitment.

About Preston Dubey

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