Rumors have been circulating since last summer about a potential Carmelo Anthony-for-Blake Griffin trade that would swap mega-stars between two mega-cities. Anthony, on the last year of his deal and playing as a lame duck for the flailing New York Knicks, and Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers super-talented 24-year-old power forward, certainly don't lack for talent. But would it make sense for the streaking Clippers (23-13) to deal away a key figure in their resurgence for the aging Anthony and rescue him from the drowning Knicks (10-22)? Anthony, who will turn 30 years-old before the season is over, is having one of his best seasons with averages of 26 points-per-game and nearly nine rebounds a night. ESPN first broke the story the first weekend of the New Year that a potential deal was starting to make more headway behind the scenes but Clippers coach Doc Rivers has already refuted the story as "stupid." However, would a possible deal be "stupid" enough to work for both teams? Stephen D. Riley and Perry Green of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question:
Riley: We've seen enough of Anthony to know that unless he's going to an absolutely stacked team, trying to make him the focal point of your organization doesn't work. We've seen Anthony in the leading role for several Denver and New York teams and only twice in Anthony's 10-year career have we seen deep playoff runs. For Carmelo, just getting out of the first round would be considered a deep playoff run considering his 23-42 career postseason record. Now, if it was possible for the Clippers to simply acquire Anthony and still keep Griffin then a potential big three lineup of Griffin, Anthony and Chris Paul changes the landscape of the NBA. But simply swapping talents may actually weaken the Clippers considering Griffin has been playing stellar and has so much untapped potential just waiting to be harvested for the promising 24-year-old.
Green: Sure, Anthony has had some disappointments but let's make no mistake about it: he's still a superstar talent in this league. And matching him with another superstar in Clippers floor general Chris Paul, would make L.A. an instant contender for the NBA Finals. Remember, it was Melo’s idea all along to eventually team up with CP3. He wanted Paul to join him in New York to head the star-trio along with the often-injured Amare Stoudemire, but Paul was traded to the Clippers where he eventually settled in with a big contract. This move would give Melo the opportunity to finally get his wish and it would also give New York a young superstar around whom the team can fashion their rebuild. But the real winner in such a move would be the Clippers.
Riley: For all of Anthony's scoring talents, you can't trade away a young power forward not even in his prime for a volume scorer. Griffin's been averaging nearly 26 points and 11 rebounds over the last few weeks, basically giving better numbers than what Anthony has done all season. But it's not just the scoring that makes Griffin so dominant. He's a legitimate superstar whose commercials, dunk contest accolades and youth have made him a very important part of the Clippers franchise. To trade that away for a guy who has a proven failed playoff record as an underachiever just doesn't make sense to me. The Carmelo Anthony brand sounds nice and all; but if you look past the hype, the chinks in the armor definitely begin to show.
Green: No great player has ever done anything without a strong supporting cast so blaming Anthony for his career playoff record considering some of the teams he played with during that stretch is a bit harsh. Pairing him with Paul would be the perfect scenario. No one would ever be able to double Melo again because they’d be too worried about doubling CP3. And don’t forget the supporting cast of players like the high-flying/defensive-stopper in DeAndre Jordan or explosive scorer Jamal Crawford coming off the bench. The Clippers would be unstoppable!
As a diehard Knicks fan, I’d hate to see Melo go but he’s already made up his mind on leaving via free agency this summer anyway so they might as well trade him now. That way the team still gets something in return for his departure. In such case Blake Griffin is not a bad trade off at all.