Carmelo Anthony is on the trading block, and Bill Simmons busted out the Trade Machine to figure out where he could go. On the latest Bill Simmons Podcast, he and Joe House discussed potential landing places for New York’s star.
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
Bill Simmons: Here’s a Kevin Love trade [where] he ends up on the Celtics. Kevin Love to the Celtics, along with Chris Andersen. Carmelo Anthony, Terry Rozier, and Gerald Green to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Amir Johnson, James Young and [DeAndre] Liggins’s expiring to the Knicks, and the Celtics float them a couple of their good picks that are not the Brooklyn picks, and the Knicks drop $10 million in salary. I think it would look something like that, but we both agree do not trade Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony, correct?
Joe House: Yes.
Simmons: OK. This next trade also has Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love in it. It’s a four-teamer. Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Brooklyn Nets. I threw the Brooklyn Nets in because Brooklyn’s, like, $18-20 million under the cap [Editor’s note: The Nyets have even more room! About $30 million.] and I really want to see a Lopez brothers reunion. I think it’s really the only thing Brooklyn can do at this point, is reunite the Lopez brothers. What else do they have? They don’t have picks the next two years. What else would you do if you were them? You’re not getting a free agent.
House: They play hard. They’re interesting. You know, they’re giving the folks in Brooklyn an entertaining game it seems like. Those young guys are playing hard.
Simmons: They could have the Lopez brothers and that’s it and give them a reality show on the YES Network, maybe make a little money back with that. All right, so Lopez goes to Brooklyn as part of this salary thing. The Bulls get Tristan Thompson and then a bunch of expiring contracts, Brandon Jennings, Liggins, Andersen, [Jordan] McRae. The Knicks get Kevin Love and they take on the Shumpert and [Nikola] Mirotic contracts. Cleveland gets Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. Oh yeah! The Banana Boat is back! Fire it up! Get a bartender on the boat! And they also get Kyle O’Quinn and Bobby Portis. Would you do that trade if you’re the Cavs?
House: I mean if you’re the Cavs, yes, right?
Simmons: I basically turn Kevin Love and Thompson and a couple scraps into Carmelo, Dwyane Wade, Kyle O’Quinn, and Bobby Portis.
House: That’s pretty good.
Simmons: I have no rebounding though. I have to go small but I know I have to go small anyway because that’s the only way I’m going to beat the Warriors. You kind of like that one! You want the Banana Boat back!
House: I still think you can’t move Love. The price of Love for Anthony is just too high. But Melo and D-Wade is just delicious on that Cavs team.
Simmons: It’s an idiotic basketball trade, but it’s a really fun basketball trade. To have LeBron, Carmelo, and Wade, and then you know, like Kyrie and Chris Paul, that trade starts looking at itself a little bit even though it’s stupid. At this point what else does LeBron have but to bring the Banana Boat back? He’s already accomplished everything he could ever want. He came back from 3-to-1 to win Cleveland its first title in 42 years. Bring the Banana Boat back.
Simmons: All right, here’s a trade that I think could actually happen. The Clippers are one of the two teams that need Mr. Anthony.
The Clippers are already on the record as saying, smartly, no DeAndre Jordan, no Blake Griffin, no Chris Paul in that trade, but everyone else we would do. So the Clippers get Carmelo Anthony and Gerald Green. Now here’s the problem with the Clips: They have to make a trade for Anthony, who makes $24.6 million a year, [so] their contracts have to add up close to that because they can’t take on any more money in any trade, right? So at that point, the three big contracts they have are Crawford makes $13 million, Rivers makes 11, and J.J. Redick makes 7.4. So two of those three have to be in any trade that gets them Carmelo back.
All right, so J.J. Redick doesn’t make sense on the Knicks, right? What do they want him for? They’re going to be rebuilding, they don’t need J.J. Redick, but he’s still an asset. He’s a guy that makes sense on some teams like my Boston Celtics maybe? J.J. Redick to the Celts, along with the Paul Pierce expiring contract. … Brice Johnson, Diamond Stone, Celtics take all those guys. Knicks get Amir Johnson’s expiring, [and] Austin Rivers, who I kind of like. [He] makes $11 million a year, three-year contract, he’s only ? And I think he’s an above-average guard. I don’t think he’s an above-average starter, but I think he’s an above-average third guard. And the Knicks would get Terry Rozier, James Young, and some future pick from the Clippers, I would guess. Would you do that trade if you were all three teams?
House: So I don’t hate it. I really like the idea of J.J. Redick to the Celtics, and adding in Pierce is a pretty nice turn of trade there. It’s garbage for the Knicks. It means they’re really committed to getting down there into that four, five, six ping-pong-ball range.
Simmons: It’s a self-sabotage. You get a future pick, get a couple guards with potential, and you get Carmelo off your team and you get Porzingis more shots. It doesn’t seem like enough, but there’s some variation of that where the Celtics get involved and Redick and Pierce go to Boston.
Simmons: All right, here’s a four-teamer. This is a better destination for J.J. Redick. I’m actually very proud of this trade. I think it’s one of my best ones. It’s nice to see Picasso can still paint. Carmelo to the Clippers, J.J. Redick to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Knicks get Anthony Morrow expiring, Cameron Payne, Brice Johnson, last year’s pick. And Jerami Grant, the guy that Oklahoma City got. The Brooklyn Nets get involved here because they have cap room, what do they care? They get Austin Rivers for free, they get Paul Pierce back, they just waive him, the Celtics pick him up. So basically Oklahoma City would be turning Payne, Grant, and a contract into J.J. Redick.
House: This is my favorite of all the ones that you said. This is the fairest for everybody involved and it’s easy to come up with a good explanation for why each team would be motivated to do this.
Simmons: Right. And then the Clips basically turn Brice Johnson, Austin Rivers, Pierce, and Redick into Carmelo, which you do every time. And Redick I think is a free agent after the season too. The big loser in this trade is J.J. Redick, who has to watch Russell Westbrook shoot 30 times a game and probably will want to disappear. He’ll go MIA.
House: You know what, I bet [Westbrook] would share the ball. I honestly think that Redick and [Victor] Oladipo and [Westbrook] would be a pretty neat and formidable small-ball lineup. I’d be very intrigued to see the three of them on the floor at the same time.
Simmons: Well, they’d certainly be better. Unfortunately, Enes Kanter broke his arm yesterday punching a chair, so that’s a problem.
Simmons: All right, another trade. Sacramento Kings involved here, that’s the third team. Sacramento’s interesting because they have Rudy Gay, who just blew out his Achilles, he only makes $13 million this year, it’s a player option, so if he opts in next year, you get Rudy Gay, assuming that he’s healthy, which he should be. Wesley Matthews came back in eight months from an Achilles. So if he opts into that contract next year, you have Rudy Gay at $13 million. That’s good. Rudy Gay is an above-average rotation guy. Or he opts out, and that becomes an expiring contract. So Clippers get Carmelo, Knicks get Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, and Willie Cauley-Stein. And Sacramento gets Austin Rivers, Paul Pierce’s contract, and Diamond Stone just to make everything work. So basically they turn Willie Cauley-Stein and Gay’s contract, whatever that is, into Austin Rivers. And if you watch the Kings, they actually need a guard who can score and create his own shot. I don’t mind this trade either because if Redick goes to the Knicks, they can then flip him. That’s just an asset. You don’t keep Redick, but you put him in another trade. No?
House: I think this is the Knicks-iest deal because of Gay and Redick, right? They love to get vets in there, known quantities. And I think Cauley-Stein in a lineup with Zinger and [Willy] Hernangomez, that’s not terrible, right?
Simmons: I agree.
House: The only piece about it that I hesitate on is, is Austin Rivers enough for the Kings? We’re in violent agreement that the Kings need a playmaker at point guard, somebody that’s really going to be able to set up that offense—
Simmons: Would you rather have Crawford or Austin Rivers?
House: Austin Rivers just because he’s so much younger.
Simmons: Because he’s 25 years younger?
Simmons: All right, this is the official Banana Boat trade.
Cleveland gets Carmelo, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul! All the same trade! And Bobby Portis is a throw-in. The Clippers get Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith; they have to take J.R. Smith as the Kyrie Irving tax. The Knicks get Kevin Love, Austin Rivers, and Michael Carter-Williams, and the Bulls get Tristan Thompson and they have to take Iman Shumpert’s contract and Brandon Jennings’s expiring. I would say the Bulls might be the ones that might not do this because you’d be turning Wade into Thompson and Shumpert, but maybe, who knows. Maybe they want to get Wade out of there. The Clippers would be the big winners turning Chris Paul into Kyrie basically, I mean you do that every time. But I don’t think this trade will happen, but this is the only way I can figure out that we can get LeBron, Carmelo, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul all on the same team. Would the internet break if this trade happened?
House: I’m going to give you a pat on the back. You really did outdo yourself on the Trade Machine coming up with this one. There’s a way to talk yourself into it. It’s not preposterous; it’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.
Simmons: Thank you.
House: It’s hilarious. It would break the internet. There’s no scenario in which it’s going to happen, but you can come up with the logic.
Simmons: Carmelo Anthony to the Sixers for Ersan Ilyasova’s expiring and Jahlil Okafor and that’s it. Carmelo goes to Philly, it’s like — how close is New York and Philly? What is that like, an hour?
House: Hour on the train.
Simmons: Yeah, if he wants to stay in New York, great. In Philly he gets to be the leader of the Process. All of a sudden now they have Carmelo, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, they’re going to have a couple more lottery picks, [and] Dario Saric, T.J. McConnell. That’s a good team. That team’s going to make the playoffs. Would you want to play the Sixers in the playoffs with Joel Embiid and Carmelo Anthony? I know I wouldn’t. I think I won the Trade Machine. That’s it.
House: I like the idea of it, the only thing that gives me pause: Carmelo over his tenure has not been the kind of guy that likes to share the limelight. He hasn’t been very good about sharing notoriety or celebration.
Simmons: What about the Olympics? 2012 Olympics? 2016 Olympics?
House: Totally different, totally different. When he’s on a team he wants to be the undisputed team leader. He wants to be the focus and he wants all the media, he wants all of it. He’s only willing to share some nuggets. He did that to Linsanity; he drove Linsanity out of New York. He did it to poor Amar’e Stoudemire; Stoudemire was going to be the Comeback Player of the Year. Carmelo popped that bubble. I’m just worried about Melo with those youngsters.
Simmons: So you’re saying Carmelo’s a bad person. That’s my takeaway, Carmelo’s a bad human being who can’t play nice with others. That’s what you just said.
House: I’m not going that far. I didn’t say any of those things. He doesn’t have a strong track record, though, of being a nurturer. Have you ever thought of Melo as a nurturer? As a mentor?