The Boston Celtics, as per usual, are tough to get a read on.
First, we think we have no interest in a Carmelo Anthony trade. Then, we believe they want to join the party as a third-team facilitator. Now, according to the Boston Herald‘s Steve Bulpett, they’re open to the idea of actually getting Melo:
But the C’s do have interest in Anthony for themselves, as well. They have for a long time. And it’s no doubt their attention gained an even greater degree when word filtered out that the Celts are one of the clubs for whom Carmelo would consider waiving his no-trade clause.
The question in this case, and, really, in every case, is price. According to multiple sources, there have been, as of the weekend, no formal trade talks between the Celts and New York, but that was largely because the Knicks are believed to be asking a Melo’s ransom for the star.
So, um, if the Knicks are asking a “ransom” for Anthony, why are we talking about deals headlined by Austin Rivers?
Okay, back to the Celtics.
If they can land Anthony for low-end picks and mostly cap dreck, without forking over any Brooklyn Nets selections, Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown or Avery Bradley, it’s tempting to say they should pull the trigger. But offense isn’t their issue. They need rebounding and defense, and acquiring Anthony, even if they play him almost exclusively at the 4, won’t help them in either department.
And then there’s the matter of the two years and $54.2 million remaining on Anthony’s pact. He may explore free agency in 2018 (early termination option), but the Celtics are set up to be major free-agency players this summer, before they are forced to reinvest in Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. Getting Anthony eats up all that flexibility.
Again, if the Knicks really are willing to talk turkey for cut-rate returns, the idea of poaching Anthony is intriguing, perhaps even justifiable. But, no matter how much of a bargain he might be, the Celtics are better off staying away.