Well folks, we’ve finally made it to the dog days of NBA summer. Rosters are taking shape and coffers are emptied unless teams are tanking more or less. The most exciting acquisitions we’re looking at these days are in the form of Michael Beasley signing with the Knicks (once again, way to go Pels) and the focus now shift to teams setting their rotations and gauging the fit of new faces.
Yet there are two big names that are waiting on where they may end up hopefully by opening night. One has been principle lead in an ongoing soap opera in the Big Apple and the other marks the need of a sidekick to morph into a superhero. Despite the talk of Carmelo Anthony moving persisting for going on it’s third summer it really heated up in the past month given the disastrous Knicks off-season which in addition to further frustrating Melo they almost alienated their franchise fixture forward of the future Kristaps Porzingis. The firing of Phil Jackson and the entrance of Scott Perry may help repair some of the damage done to the relationship between Anthony and the Knicks but I wouldn’t put my light bill on it.
Kyrie, fresh off of a third consecutive appearance in the Finals that yielded him one ring took notice of the developing tumult in the Cavaliers front office which included the nasty departure of GM David Griffin and the cryptic messages from the pooh-bah of passive aggressive social media pistol play LeBron James hinting at him taking his talents elsewhere next summer. Simply put, no matter what we may think about it theses dudes are ready to go, like immediately.
Melo is arguably in a much more favorable position from a player’s position due to him possessing a no-trade clause (thanks Phil). However, given his psyche and concern over his legacy his list is very short. The Rockets obviously emerged as a front runner once fello banana boater Chris Paul made his way to H-Tine but the unwillingness to take on Ryan Anderson’s contract has seemingly thwarted this. There is a possibility of a buyout but surely the Knicks would like to get something for Carmelo so I think this is a long shot.
Interestingly, New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins hinted at a Team USA reunion in the Big Easy. Of course this raised a few eye brows (tee hee) and it would be a damn good fit. But looking at the Pelicans roster I don’t see much that the Knicks would want for a player of Carmelo’s caliber. But hey, a fan can dream right.
Kyrie’s situation offers MUCH more possibilities. Upon announcing his desire for a trade in July he listed four teams as preferred potential landing spots and those were the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. A pretty curious list if you ask me but it was encouraging to see him wanting to go to organizations that (mostly) are in a good place in terms of culture and competency. However, the Spurs have nothing the Cavs are willing it take on and there are fit concerns there. It would be strange in Minny since they just ponied up to pay Jeff Teague while Miami seems okay to soldier on as is since it appears they can catapult themselves to the middle of the East mainly by default. There were brief talks of a Kyrie for Melo swap which would have seemingly appeased everyone but those talk have died down since.
Enter the Phoenix Suns. They have assets the Cavs find intriguing and Cleveland would have the added plus of getting Kyrie out of the East. Seems like a win-win right? Sure, but there are a few things at play here. Irving has made it very clear that if he doesn’t get dealt to one of his desired destinations there is a pretty low chance of him re-signing. So the rumored package of Eric Bledsoe, Josh Jackson / Dragan Bender and a 2018 first round pick may seem superfluous for two years of Irving at $42 million and no guarantee of staying. Also complicating the matter there is the apparent embrace by the Suns’ ownership, management and to some extent the fan base about the acceptance of a long term rebuild process. They’ve even tagged the horrible hashtag #TheTimeline to embrace it. So if this truly is the case it would be pretty peculiar for them to take on that kind of player never mind the salary at this point of their ugh, timeline.
Detroit has very recently emerged as a potential destination for Irving. There has been talks of a potential deal of Kyrie Irving and Tristan “TrashGawd” Thompson to the Pistons for Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Stanley Johnson. There goes Stan Van again, wheelin’ and dealin’! This would be a coup for the Pistons and it would keep Kyrie in the East. Interesting. Not sure how this serves the Cavs moving forward but if they are taking James’ musings seriously maybe they’re getting a jump on that rebuild.