ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe hosted ESPN’s Ian Begley and Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck for the latest edition of The Lowe Post podcast, which tipped off with a lively discussion about the NBA’s biggest storyline: a potential Carmelo Anthony trade. Find out their complete thoughts by listening to the full podcast, here, and read on to get a sense of the Portland Trail Blazers’ involvement in the stalled negotiations.
Lowe: This alleged 4-team trade that was going to send Carmelo Anthony to Houston; I’m not actually convinced it existed in any workable form. Steve Mills came out at the press conference—you guys were both there, I think, yesterday, I was not there—saying pretty strongly, like, ‘We will not buy Carmelo Anthony out. If he leaves, it’s going to be via trade.’ So, Ian, what is going on? Is Houston just still poking around? Is there anything happening?
Begley: The Knicks don’t like anything that they’ve gotten back, so far, from Houston or any other team for that matter. So, when they talk about putting things on hold, it’s really ‘We don’t have anything we like, so we’re going to try to put pressure on the teams that want Carmelo—namely the Houston Rockets—to come up with a better offer.’ When you talk about those 3-4-team deals, they’re so complex that I’m sure there was nothing concrete in place there. I think the idea, in general, with this transaction is to get Ryan Anderson to a third team. And then does that third team taking Ryan Anderson on, do they want to get rid of one of their bad contracts? I think those were the parameters that teams were looking at before Steve Mills put this thing on hold. When he said, on Monday, that ‘We’re going to do what’s best for Carmelo and for the Knicks,’ and he talked about Carmelo potentially coming back to the Knicks—read between the lines there. They don’t want Carmelo back, Carmelo does not want to come back. What’s best for both parties is getting a trade together, and the Knicks are just holding out right now for the best possible deal.
Lowe: I think Portland’s involvement is interesting because Woj has reported—and I’ve confirmed that it’s true, not that Woj needs confirmation ever—but Portland is not helping out either. Portland is like ‘Hold up!’ They don’t want Ryan Anderson. ‘We got, like, lesser, less damaging and, like, better versions of Ryan Anderson’s contract. We can move [Moe] Harkless, we can move [Meyers] Leonard, who makes half of what Ryan Anderson makes. We just had two first-round picks in the draft, so we got some young guys. We got some tools here, like, hell, if we’re going to be in the deal, we want Carmelo!’ And you got CJ McCollum on Instagram putting up Carmelo’s picture in a Blazers uniform, and I’ve heard from people in Portland that Dame—it’s interesting, the evolution of Dame. Internally, he’s the perfect franchise player—role model, at the practice facility, took Jusuf Nurkic under his wing right away, any young guy who’s not working hard just has to look at how hard Dame is working; the one thing was, he had a little bit of the Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, like, ‘I’m not recruiting. I’m a self-made player. I’m not going to go out and ask for help.’ And he’s starting to get over that. They’re telling me Dame is ready to sort of get out, like, ‘I’ll take on other stars.’ People are going to laugh at the idea of Carmelo in Portland and he’ll probably—do you think there is any chance he waives his No-Trade for that?
To hear the answer, and other details like who the Houston Rockets want to hold onto, and the probable cost of moving Anderson, check out The Lowe Post. The first 20 minutes of the hour-long podcast are dedicated to Anthony and the drama surrounding his situation.