(Updated 1/30/2017) NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony could be on the move, according to reports. The New York Knicks star forward has been reportedly linked to a blockbuster deal that could send him to the Los Angeles Clippers pending the Knicks finding a suitable third party to facilitate the trade. The Clippers have been one of the more entertaining franchises over the last few seasons with stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan forming an athletic and exciting trio. But it hasn’t been enough to topple the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors out west. Anthony’s trade is coming up soon but Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate whether his potential arrival in Los Angeles could make them contenders.
New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (7) moves the ball up court against the Dallas Mavericks during an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Riley: Anthony moving to the Clippers comes about three or four seasons too late. The Western Conference will go to the Warriors or the Spurs as has been the routine for the last few seasons. Anthony’s potential arrival would lock up the small forward spot for the Clippers but it wouldn’t cure the Clippers’ bench woes or aid Jordan’s poor free throwing (51 percent) or weaken the Warriors’ or Spurs’ rosters. Would they sell more tickets and get more ESPN time? Yes. But I can’t see a potential Anthony trade making the Clippers major contenders in the competitive west.
Green: Los Angeles has been seeking a small forward for ages and although it would be tough for Knicks fans to see the face of the team leave, it might be the time for both the franchise and Anthony to start afresh. Melo’s fresh start in Los Angeles would make the Clippers true contenders out west, potentially edging out the Spurs. The return of Paul from injury with the addition of Anthony would be a franchise changer. Anthony is what’s been missing from the Clippers’ lineup — a scoring forward who can be a go-to scorer down the stretch and late in games. He’s also proven with his Olympics play that he can take on a lesser role and still contribute. When Melo teamed up with other superstars in the 2012 Olympics, he was delegated to spot-up shooter duties typical of a role player, not a superstar of his magnitude. But he didn’t cry or complain. He just went out and knocked down more three-pointers than any Olympian ever. I can see him doing the same thing for L.A., playing alongside stars like Paul, Griffin and Jordan.
Riley: The move would definitely make their roster more attractive but it wouldn’t move the needle for them in terms of contention. Mid-season trades for star players rarely make a difference against teams that already have camaraderie and cohesion. In 2018, Los Angeles would be a team to look at, but trying to alter the team’s DNA in February won’t make a dent into the Warriors’ and Spurs’ postseason plans. Anthony hasn’t moved the needle on any team that he’s played for in terms of serious contention so why would we expect differently if he moves teams this year?
Green: Anthony hasn’t paced Denver or New York as championship contenders in prior seasons but he played both roles as the primary leader. The roles didn’t suit him but he could effectively play second or third fiddle in L.A. and revamp his entire game as a contributing scorer rather than the main one. Los Angeles has pillars in place, and Anthony would just be coming in to add an impact front court player and another option for Paul. A motivated Anthony is a dangerous one, and L.A. would undoubtedly become a sexy pick out West. They would certainly be the second most talented team out West and could seriously challenge Golden State for favorites.