Latest update (Feb. 3)
The Knicks remain interested in trading Carmelo Anthony to the Cavaliers, despite the fact that Cleveland refuses to include Kevin Love in a potential deal, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.
The Knicks also remain engaged with the Clippers and Celtics regarding Anthony, with the Knicks not interested in receiving G Jamal Crawford as part of a potential deal with the Clippers, reports Mitch Lawrence of Forbes.
In many of their talks with the Cavaliers and Clippers about Anthony, the Knicks have broached the idea of three-and-four-team trades due to the "complexities involved" with trading Anthony, notes Begley.
Meanwhile, the Celtics feel the Knicks' current asking price for Anthony is too high, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
Anthony, who has a full no-trade clause, told reporters Tuesday that he has not told the Knicks which teams he would be willing to accept a trade to.
Previous Reports and Reaction
New York is "determined" to trade Anthony prior to the Feb. 23 deadline and have reached out to the Celtics and Clippers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Wojnarowski noted that Knicks president Phil Jackson wants to "rid the roster of Anthony and his contract" in order to start building around Kristaps Porzingis.
Anthony was quoted two weeks ago saying he would consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks asked him to.
Anthony, 32, is under contract through the 2018-19 season. He's making $24.5 million this season, and will earn $26.4 million in 2017-18, and $27.9 million in 2018-19.
This is where the power the Knicks do have in any potential Anthony deal comes into play. Teams like the Clippers and Cavaliers are built to win now. That means that they not only have a limited amount of young/future assets, but that the players they do have available for trade are locked in.
At 36 years old, Crawford, a thee-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, was previously rewarded with a lucrative contract because he fits in as a steady contributor to a contending team. As New York looks to build towards a promising future, his contract would only serve as a burden.
If teams like the Clippers and Cavaliers can't offer the type of package that benefits the Knicks long term, Jackson can always wait until the summer to explore other options.
There are a limited amount of teams Anthony would presumably waive his no-trade clause for. As a championship contender headlined by his close friend in LeBron James, the Cavaliers stand tall as a desirable destination. This may provide them with favor in prospective trade talks, but the Knicks still maintain control in one big regard: the timeline.
Cleveland is likely hesitant to surrender Love not only because they want to retain as much talent as possible, but also because dealing such a big part of this season's successful squad would disrupt their rhythm. The Knicks can wait.
But alas, the Cavaliers may not hold as much favor when the waiting game comes to an end in the offseason. There will be an increased number of suitors that boast the summer flexibility necessary to manufacture a deal for Anthony. Doing so in the summer also gives prospective teams an opportunity to regroup and prepare to compete with Anthony on board, as opposed to midseason.
Unfortunately for a team like the Cavaliers (or the Clippers for that matter), fellow opponents may be able to provide the Knicks with a more worthwhile package than either team is reportedly willing to part with at this point. New York needs enticing draft picks and young assets. The Cavaliers and Clippers don't have many and prefer not to part with their stars. That doesn't make either one the best trade partner.
Anthony can control where he goes and it would make sense if both the aforementioned teams are indeed high on his wish list, especially if something happens before the trade deadline. Nevertheless, he could have more of an open mind in the offseason when things have slowed down and teams are able to make moves. The transition could be easier for his family as well.
Should this be the case, it wouldn't be surprising for the Oklahoma City Thunder to emerge as a dark horse suitor. How could Anthony straight out refuse an opportunity to compete alongside Russell Westbrook? There are sure to be more possibilities where that came from.