There were no shortage of rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony at this year's NBA trade deadline. According to reports, several teams were interested in dealing for the New York Knicks star and the Knicks were interested in moving him.
As we all know, though, nothing materialized and Melo ended the year toiling in obscurity for the hapless Knicks.
So, how close did Anthony come to donning a new jersey this February? Pretty darn close, according to the New York Post.
In an article on NYPost.com on Thursday night, a source said the Boston Celtics were extremely close to pulling the trigger on a trade for Melo before getting cold feet at the last second:
"According to an NBA source, the Celtics coaching staff was in favor of trading for Anthony at the trade deadline, but general manager Danny Ainge had too many reservations," the article said. "One of Ainge’s concerns, according to a source, was an Anthony trade would have given Boston no real cap space to work with for the 2017 free-agent class."
As the first two games of Boston's first-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls have made painfully clear, the Celtics need a scorer to help take some of the pressure off of point guard Isaiah Thomas - a role Melo would have filled admirably.
Clearly, based on their repeated clashes this season, Knicks president Phil Jackson and Carmelo do not see eye to eye on how the Knicks offense should run. The NY Post source said that's a big reason Melo could be shown the door this offseason:
“It’s just not how Phil wants to play,’’ the source said. “He’d work well on a team who likes to play isolation.’’
Apparently, though, Boston coach Brad Stevens was on board with a move for Anthony, so he likely has a plan that would integrate Melo into the mix.
Boston has a chance to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, as the Celtics have the rights to swap picks with the lowly Brooklyn Nets. Based on several expiring contracts, the Celtics will also have a ton of cap room this offseason.
Based on how the draft turns out, Ainge will have a chance to assess Boston's needs heading into the 2017-18 season. From there, he'll have plenty of money to work with on the free-agent market.
However, if the Celtics strike out with some of the top free agents this summer, a trade for Melo could still be addressed before the next NBA campaign tips off.