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Would Carmelo Anthony Propel the Blazers To a Top Three West Seed?

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It seems unlikely for Carmelo Anthony to join the Blazers. How could it happen? And would it bump Portland into the West’s top three?

NBA: All Star Practice Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Carmelo Anthony situation continues to dominate any NBA headlines that don’t include the name “Kyrie”. Let’s revisit him one more time in a fresh mailbag.

Hi Dave;

Striking while the topic is hot (and stipulating for the sake of this conversion that 1) what Woj reported about the Blazers' interest in Melo is true and 2) Melo would agree to it), could you take a whack at the apparent disparity in your June 8th article's conclusion that there's virtually no way the Blazers could make such a trade vs. a billionaire's (Allen) belief that he could do it if he so chooses?

Thanks,

Sageduck1

Ah...the topic that keeps on giving.

There’s no real disparity between what I said on June 8th about Carmelo—most of which was a rundown of how he’d help (or not help) the Blazers should a trade be consummated—and the current situation. Your question starts, in essence, “Let’s assume for the sake of this conversation that there is a trade that all parties would agree to,” then you asked why I said that it’d be really hard to get all parties to agree to a trade. Essentially you’re assuming what I said wasn’t true, then asking me why it wasn’t true.

Unfortunately it was, and remains, true. Nor do I think that Paul Allen, Neil Olshey, James Dolan, or anyone else thinks it’d be easy to get Carmelo to Portland directly. Unless the Knicks are straight-up dumping him for anything, Portland’s offers aren’t going to be that attractive without the Big 3 being involved. Chances are if the Magic Deal existed and Anthony would agree to it, it would already be done. The flow of information so far has been:

1. The Knicks are trying to move Carmelo to the Rockets and need a third team to do so. Portland is a candidate.

2. The Blazers perhaps balked because they would prefer Anthony for themselves rather than facilitating the move for one of their conference rivals.

Presumably after that come:

3. ...

4. Profit!

As always, Step 3 is the tricky one. So far the only things we’ve heard are Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum getting chummy with Anthony trying to convince him that Portland could be a nice destination and Anthony remaining coy. That’s cute, but it’s not a trade.

Personally, I’d go back and read the rest of that June 8th Mailbag just in case a trade does come through. I’d prefer the Blazers to make the deal because ratings would go through the roof, but adding Anthony either brings or exacerbates several problems. This whole deal is an extended version of, “Dang! I blew my diet by eating a cookie. Might as well eat the whole box now!” The biggest fallout from it might come if he opts out of his deal and saves the Blazers a couple years of massive salary obligation that they’d (presumably) trade away to get him.

Dave,

CJ just said that we’d be a top 3 team in the west if we got Melo! That’s optimism! You buying it?

Fredo

That’s verified:

Rather than arguing the merits, let’s just assume this is true. Is that what we’re shooting for here? What does “Top 3” mean in the long run? If the Blazers vaulted from the 8th seed to the 3rd seed, that leaves them essentially in the same place they’ve been: not making it to the Finals. They might coax an extra round out of the playoffs, perhaps two. What then?

Anthony is 33 years old. It’s quite possible he’ll leave after a year or two when his contract gives him options. Even if he stays, he’ll be drifting through his mid-30’s. He’s not the player he was in 2010, and the jury’s out whether the Knicks should have traded for that Carmelo. This version is not the key to a championship. He’d be a fancy distraction, his big name covering the fact that the primes of Lillard and McCollum were slipping by with the Blazers no closer to actually winning it all.

If the Blazers are content with being a somewhat-lesser version of the early-2000’s Indiana Pacers, they can probably get there with a move like that. But if that’s the apex, they should just start over now. If they’re not going to do that, then forget aiming at the “Top 3” for a year or two and start aiming at a sustained chance to move into the #1 spot. A ‘Melo trade might be good for the Blazers from the perspective of where they are now. That doesn’t mean that it’d bring them to where they need to be.

Thanks, Fredo and Sageduck! Keep those Mailbag questions coming to blazersub@gmail.com!

Special Request: If you are involved in managing/directing a NON-PROFIT in or around New York City, or know someone who is, could you email me at the address just below? I have a question you might be able to help with.

—Dave / blazersub@gmail.com / @Blazersedge / @DaveDeckard