Trade rumors are hot in New York as Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony appears to be on this way out by the league’s traded deadline on Feb. 23. The latest rumor pins the Los Angeles Clippers as a possible destination for the nine-time All-Star, but the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement complicates that. Due to Anthony’s two-year, $53 million contract, a third team would have to enter the deal, according to new reports. Could the Minnesota Timberwolves make it a threesome?
The Clippers and Wolves would like to improve their teams without giving up any of their “Big Three” players. For the Clippers, this includes point guard Chris Paul, center DeAndre Jordan, and power forward Blake Griffin, while the Timberwolves also want to keep small forward Andrew Wiggins, center Karl-Anthony Towns, and shooting guard Zach LaVine.
However, like New York, Minnesota has a player on their roster who has been subject to blockbuster trade rumors this season too. Point guard Ricky Rubio could make the deal work for the Knicks in return for a trio of veteran players from the Clippers.
After running the numbers through ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine, here is how the deal can work for all three teams:
So, the trade breaks down like this:
|SF Carmelo Anthony||SG Jamal Crawford||PG Ricky Rubio|
|PG Brandon Jennings||SG J.J. Redick|
|SF Wesley Johnson|
|PG Ricky Rubio||SF Carmelo Anthony||SG Jamal Crawford|
|SF Wesley Johnson||SG J.J. Redick|
|PG Brandon Jennings|
The Timberwolves can account for the $25.6 million in cap space by trading Rubio and by allowing center Nikola Pekovic (foot) to medically retire on Jan. 31. Although Minnesota will pay Pekovic $11 million, it won’t count against the salary cap next season.
Minnesota is able to receive shooting guard Jamal Crawford, shooting guard J.J. Redick, and point guard Brandon Jennings because Anthony’s contract is so rich, the Clippers would have to give up a lot to get him. Although giving up so much bench depth seems detrimental to Los Angeles, their past efforts to defeat the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs late in the playoffs have failed thus far.
Adding Carmelo Anthony could be what the Clippers need to establish their own super team as the Warriors have done this season. The Wolves, in return, could get the veteran pieces they need to add championship caliber depth.
Meanwhile, the Knicks are embroiled in their own drama as they appear ready to rebuild around power forward Kristaps Porzingis. The team is only two games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and Rubio could be the point guard of the future for the Knicks as Derrick Rose nears free agency.
This three-team trade allows each franchise to pursue its best interest both now and in the future. The Wolves would have to give up a well-regarded player in Rubio, but they might just love the results.
Brad Omland is a writer and editor for Howlin’ T-Wolf. Follow him on Twitter: @bradradio.