Contrary to public statements, it appears the New York Knicks are at least thinking about what life would be like without star Carmelo Anthony.
Two days removed from a report in the New York Post that stated Anthony had no interest in playing anywhere but the Big Apple, Chicago, or even Los Angeles with buddy Chris Paul, the Knicks reportedly had internal discussions about moving the 29-year-old reigning scoring champion to the Clippers.
As reported by ESPN’s Chris Broussard, neither the Knicks nor the Clippers have formally made an offer, but both have mulled a deal that would send Anthony to Los Angeles for power forward Blake Griffin.
Anthony would have to agree to a sign-and-trade deal, as no team would agree to give up as promising and already proven young player like Griffin on a lark.
Anthony has said he intends to test free agency this summer, and would like the full free-agent experience. However, he could join friend Chris Paul sooner rather than later, and bring his wife La La Anthony out to L.A. to further her acting and show business career.
In terms of salaries, Griffin also has four years and nearly $78 million left on the max extension he signed in 2012. Los Angeles. might have to include another asset for salaries to match under the new collective bargaining agreement.
With the league’s sixth highest payroll at $74 million this season, and $73 million next, the only way L.A. could acquire Anthony is via a trade and not free agency.
Flourishing under new head coach Doc Rivers and gunning for a top three seed in the Western Conference, the Clippers are apparently apprehensive to move Griffin while he’s been on such a tear of late.
The 2009 No. 1 pick has netted 20 or more points in nine of the last 10 games, including a 40-point 10-rebound performance in a win over Utah last week. The Clippers have gone 7-3 during Griffin’s run, but could be even more hesitant to enter negotiations with Paul sidelined for the next three-to-five weeks with a separated shoulder.
Six-time All-Star Paul went down with less than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter of L.A.’s 119-112 win over Dallas on Friday night. Originally called a sprain, the Clippers later corrected and clarified Paul hurt his right, shooting shoulder.
Lowry Continues To Impress
Very few players been on as impressive a run as Toronto Raptor point guard Kyle Lowry.
The 27-year-old has torched opposing defenses for 18.4 points on 49 percent shooting from the field with 10.6 assists during the Raptors current five-game winning streak. Expected to enter the lottery this summer, the Raptors have instead risen to fourth in the Eastern Conference.
However, new Toronto general manager Masa Ujiri told the Toronto Sun that he’s taking a long approach to the team’s future.
"We'll continue to evaluate the team. I know it's what we keep saying but it's been a huge encouragement by the way the team has played,” Ujiri said. “We want to be a good team we want to be a winning team, but if it's not that way, then we have to figure out a way to rebuild the team."
Lowry also represents a cheap $6.2 million expiring contract, which could fetch Ujiri plenty of assets from many teams around the league, including the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to CBS Sports, the Lakers approached Toronto about a deal for Lowry with Kobe Bryant down once again, and nearly every point guard on the roster battling injuries.
The same report suggests L.A. could be looking to dump salaries so as to avoid the league’s new repeater rate tax, which charges teams for consistently breaching the luxury tax. The Lakers do have Pau Gasol’s $19 million expiring contract to offer, but it's unclear if the Raptors are interested.
Considering Lowry’s cheap contract, it's more likely he’s one piece in a larger deal.