The New York Knicks continue to make headlines as multiple outlets have reported they are pursuing a potential trade for All-Star Carmelo Anthony. On Thursday, outlets circled three teams that the Knicks had contacted about a deal: the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers were quick to shut that down; they may be struggling but they're not breaking up their core to add Melo. The Clippers continue to talk about a potential deal, but it would be a really bad idea.
But how about the Celtics? On Friday, ESPN reported that the Celtics have also decided to pass on adding the offensive superstar in Anthony:
Sources told ESPN that the Boston Celtics let the Knicks know they have no interest in Anthony. There were exploratory talks between the teams last season.
I floated the idea of a Celtics trade for Anthony a few weeks ago. Here's what I said about a prospective Celtics trade involving Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and one of the Nets' picks:
Not for Boston, not with Melo 32 years old. He has always wanted things his way and if he throws his weight around and breaks the offense, that's going to frustrate guys. It's a huge defensive downgrade, and even with Courtney Lee you can't mitigate the damage. They're better off hoping for other moonshots to come available.
So it's not exactly surprising that the Celtics passed here. Their offense is top notch, and even at 5-9, it's hard to argue that Isaiah Thomas would struggle to score in clutch situations in a playoff environment. He's been that good. The Celtics have a top-five offense and a bottom-10 defense. Adding Anthony might make their offense better, but it takes possessions away from more efficient players, and he's a ball-stopper. He makes the offense more predictable.
He's also a defensive liability who has never invested himself on that end. Maybe Brad Stevens could coax that effort from him, but it's unlikely. Finally, the Celtics have a great team culture built around accountability. Anthony tends to regard himself above such machinations, and that's helped poison the well in New York. How would he respond to teammates holding him accountable for his play?
These are all factors why a deal seems unlikely.
On the other hand, though, if Danny Ainge can pull of a deal without having to give up a. one of the two Brooklyn Nets picks they have the right to, b. Jaylen Brown or c. two of their core players, he might consider it. After all, if you can add Anthony for almost nothing, why not take the chance? They have too many assets to spare. Don't be surprised if the two teams keep talking and if rumors resurface as the deadline draws near next month.