FanPost

SHOULD THE JAZZ TRY TO TRADE FOR CARMELO ANTHONY?

Note: This is a revised post. I made a mistake in my original post, overlooking the fact that Carmelo Anthony has a player's option on the second year of his current contract and could opt out his contract for the 2018-2019 season. Taking that fact into account, here is my revised post.

The Jazz lost their leading scorer--Gordon Hayward--in free agency this summer, and were unable to acquire a player in free agency to replace his scoring punch. On the other hand, the Jazz have a very deep team--especially on the wings, and especially if everyone who was not healthy last season is healthy this season (including Rodney Hood, Alec Burks and Dante Exum). Because of the Jazz's depth, the Jazz almost seem poised to make a trade.

There appears to be a player on the trading block who could replace the scoring role lost by the Jazz when Gordon Hayward signed in free agency with the Boston Celtics--namely, Carmelo Anthony. Last season Carmelo was less efficient than Hayward, but otherwise had almost identical (or better) offensive statistics than those of Hayward (and by playing on a better team with a better system and a better point guard this season--in Ricky Rubio--perhaps Carmelo could be much more efficient).

The Knicks appear to have irreparably damaged their relationship with Anthony, and have chosen to go with a youth movement going forward--building their team around Kristaps Porzingis. Anthony is in the twilight of his career--perhaps having 2-3 more good years before his skills really begin to decline--and would like to be traded to a team that has a chance to compete for a title.

Carmelo's preference is to play for the Houston Rockets or the Cleveland Cavaliers, but those talks have stalled. In order to match salaries, the Rockets would have to trade either Ryan Anderson (and a throw in salary or two), or a combination of Eric Gordon and Trevor Arisa (and a throw in salary or two) for Carmelo. It would appear that talks have stalled with Houston, either because the Knicks don't want to take on Ryan Anderson's 3-year contract, or the Rockets don't want to trade Gordon and Ariza to the Knicks in exchange for Carmelo.

It would appear that talks have stalled with Cleveland for similar reasons--although Cleveland has a lot of players on its roster with big salaries to use in a trade. Either Cleveland doesn't want to trade a player that the Knicks want, or the Knicks don't want the players Cleveland is willing to trade to the Knicks.

The salient questions (about whether the Jazz should try to do this deal) become whether Carmelo would be a good replacement for the scoring punch lost by the Jazz when Gordon Hayward left in free agency, and whether the Jazz could come up with--or would be willing to come up with--a better trade package for Carmelo than the ones being offered by Houston or Cleveland (or any other team in the running to pull off a trade for Carmelo). And, whether Carmelo would be willing to waive his no trade clause to be traded to the Jazz.

I believe Carmelo could fill the alpha scorer role for the Jazz and could replace the scoring punch lost with the departure of Gordon Hayward--for at least the next year, and perhaps the next two years. With a great team around him, Carmelo might actually be better than Hayward, based on his talent, skill set and experience.

The most logical trade pieces (based on salary match and replaceability) the Jazz would be willing to offer for Carmelo are Alec Burks and Joe Johnson, and perhaps a draft pick. Would those two players (or those two players augmented by a Jazz draft pick) be more attractive to the Knicks than a trade package that either Houston or Cleveland is willing to offer (or any trade package put up by any other team that might want to trade for Carmelo)? Who knows?

Johnson is on a one-year deal, Burks is on a two-year deal, so there should be no concern by the Knicks about taking on a big long-term contract (such as with Ryan Anderson). The Knicks need depth at the wing positions. If Alec Burks plays well this upcoming season, he might be a player the Knicks would want to keep on the team long-term, or could become a fairly valuable trade piece. The key to the deal might be whether the Jazz are willing to give up a first round draft pick for what is most likely only a "one-year rental" of Carmelo Anthony. Would the Jazz be willing to trade Johnson, Burks and a future first round draft pick for Carmelo (an aging star who has only one guaranteed year left on his current contract--with a player opt out clause on the second year of his contract)? Who knows?

The Jazz were willing to trade the #12 pick in the 2016 draft for a one-year rental of George Hill. In addition, the Jazz may be willing to make this trade to free up more playing time for its exciting rookie, Donovan Mitchell. If the Jazz made this trade, it would open up minutes (and a bigger role) for Mitchell at the shooting guard position, with Alec Burks no longer on the team.

Even if this trade resulted in only a one-year rental of Carmelo, it would keep the Jazz competitive until next off season when the Jazz could attempt to replace Hayward's scoring punch on a more permanent basis. Carmelo might agree to the trade, rather than sit around doing nothing on the Knicks next season--and if he didn't like playing for the Jazz, he could just opt out and go somewhere else in free agency next season. If Carmelo did like playing for the Jazz, he could either opt in on the second year of his contract, or re-sign with the Jazz on a longer deal.

If the Jazz made a trade in which they gave up Burks, Johnson and a draft pick for Anthony, the Jazz roster going forward would look like this:

PG: Rubio, Exum, Neto, Wolters

SG: Hood, Mitchell, O'Neale

SF: Anthony, Ingles, Sefolosha

PF: Favors, Jerebko, Griffin, Bolomboy

C: Gobert, Udoh, Bradley

Even after the trade, that would still be a Jazz team with very good depth.

What do you think?

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.