Trading Carmelo Anthony for Blake Griffin is a Terrible Idea

If the Knicks really think Carmelo Anthony is leaving, it’s time to tear this whole thing down and start over. Blake Griffin, who is averaging 22.1 points and 10.6 rebounds to Melo’s 26.2 and 8.9, is not going to make the Knicks better than they are now. And paying him upwards of $17 million annually until 2017-18 won’t give the Knicks any meaningful increase in cap flexibility, which they’ll need considering Griffin is an extremely limited player outside of his ability to dunk the basketball. He can’t shoot free throws, rarely shoots his jump shot and is a poor defender. He’s had the luxury of playing with Chris Paul for the last couple of seasons and the two of them have won ONE playoff series. Sounds a little like the Knicks and Melo, except Melo’s out there with Raymond Felton. Now, there is one point guard the Knicks are also rumored to covet, and that’s Rajon Rondo. Well he can’t shoot either, which would leave the Knicks to figure out how to find a stretch five who can also protect the rim (because Griffin can’t). Too bad Kevin Garnett’s washed up, he’d be a nice fit. If the Knicks really think they are going to lose Carmelo Anthony, they should trade him for some combination of draft picks, young players and cap relief. Not a highly paid player with a limited offensive game who relies on his athletic ability and has had microfracture surgery. That’s right, microfracture surgery, just like another highly paid offensive player who relied on his athletic ability and had microfracture surgery before coming to the Garden. And how’s that working out?

A Perfectly Reasonable Stoudemire/Shumpert Trade

There have been a couple of Amar’e trades bandied about recently and almost none of them make sense for the Knicks (rule number one for any GM: don’t trade for Gerald Wallace). At the same time, there have been a lot of Iman Shumpert trades in the news, none of which make sense for the other team involved in the deal (he’s just not playing well enough right now to bring Kenneth Faried back in exchange). And the Knicks simply don’t have enough assets to get Rajon Rondo under any circumstances, no matter how much we all wish that might happen.

But here’s one that works under the salary cap and makes more than enough sense for both parties: 

To the Knicks:

  • Hedo Turkoglu (one year, $12 million - not currently playing, buyout rumored)
  • Jameer Nelson (two years, $8.6 million a year)
  • Glen Davis (two years, $6.4 million a year)

To the Magic:

  • Amar’e Stoudemire (two years, $21.6 million a year)
  • Iman Shumpert (two years, $1.7 million a year)

The Knicks get an upgrade at point guard (Nelson, who is averaging 12.4 points and 5.8 assists this season and is a proficient pick-and-roll player) and some help on the front line (Davis*) without interfering with their Summer of 2015 free agency plan (sigh). They get an added bonus by reducing their 2014-15 payroll by about $6.6 million (Amar’e’s 2014-15 salary minus Davis and Nelson’s).They might even be able to get some additional savings by buying Turkoglu out (not that it matters much since they are so far over the cap this year anyway).

The Magic basically break even on the money over the course of the deal but get Iman Shumpert for their trouble. The trade makes them worse on the court but it doesn’t matter because they are tanking anyway. A little tiny bonus is that Stoudemire is kinda from the Orlando area, something they can use to market the deal to their fans (I assume they have fans). And if the Magic want Raymond Felton to be included in the deal so they don’t overload Victor Oladipo by asking him to play big minutes at the point, they can have his three year, $3.6 million dollar a year deal as well. The trade works under the cap with Felton included too. 

If the Knicks make this trade they get better today. The Magic get Iman Shumpert for helping them. It’s not implausible.

*Playing Kenyon Martin big minutes is killing the Knicks’ offense. Teams just don’t guard him and they’re not working well enough in the pick-and-roll to make teams concerned when he sets screens. Davis can shoot effectively enough to keep teams honest. And in the right matchups he can be an effective defender. Certainly better than Stoudemire.