Stephen A. says Carmelo Anthony is "gone" from New York after the season, why the Celtics are not a fit

Photo-shop still doesn't know what him 'em
We've had the Stephen A. Smith conversation before around these parts. I believe it was during the playoff series with the Knicks where he said that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers were having a few issues, and that Doc would not be back for this season. He then came out with the absurd Griffin-Bledsoe-Butler for KG-Pierce-Doc trade rumor after the season was over.

Of course, Doc ended up heading to LA, and there did seem to be some friction between Danny and Doc. But that trade never happened, and was never going too. The Clips wouldn't budge on a single first round pick for Doc for awhile..and were never going to give up two premium young talents for KG and Pierce.

That whole situation was a pretty good summation of Stephen A. Plugged in, but also extremely sensationalistic.

So as always, we take anything he has to say with a grain of salt.

With that said, Smith is closer to the Knicks than any other team. And seemingly closer to Carmelo Anthony than any other player.

And that's why this should be taken somewhat seriously. Yesterday, on his radio show, Smith had this to say about Carmelo's future with the 3-13 Knicks (via ESPN (Insider account required)).

There has been a lot of chatter in the rumor mill regarding Carmelo Anthony's future since he can opt out of his contract and join the 2014 class of free agents. Anthony has been linked with the his own team, New York Knicks, since they can give him a five-year, $129,135,806 contract while other teams are limited to $95,897,372 over four years. The Knicks are off to a terrible start to the season and apparently he's already decided that's he's not coming back, according to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

Smith made the following statement during his ESPN New York radio show on Wednesday: "Do you know what I've heard over the last 24 hours? Carmelo Anthony is gone. Ain't no way in hell he's staying here [in New York]. I'm hearing this is it. He's out. Unless the money disappears elsewhere, because he definitely wants to get paid, he's not trying to stay here for this. he's not trying to stay here for this."

The Lakers have been linked with Anthony, however they probably won't offer anything close to $95 million and no other teams will give him that, too, so Anthony will stay with the Knicks and collect that massive deal unless he's willing to lower his contract demands.

Smith also said he believes the Knicks should move Anthony by the Feb. 20 deadline. Once gain, most teams won't make an offer since he won't re-sign with them in the summer.

A few things about the report:

1. I definitely think that Smith has heard, probably from Melo himself, that Anthony is really unhappy right now. Not that that's breaking news or anything..Anthony is playing for a 3-13 team that has little to no hope of bringing in any other elite talent with Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith on the books. If you're Carmelo..why wouldn't you think long and hard about leaving after the season?

2. There's also some serious Stephen A. exaggeration going on. "He's gone", "no way in hell he stays", "he's out" are all sensational ways to sell the story. Especially when you consider that Smith then talks about how much Carmelo wants to get paid, and that the Knicks can offer him a whopping $33.2 million more than any other team. Whatever Smith heard is not nearly as much of a "lock" as he's letting on.

3. I don't understand the 2nd to last paragraph at all, where it says that the Lakers or any other team won't offer Carmelo the max. Huh? Carmelo's crappy 16 games have suddenly made him a non-max contract guy entering the summer? That's ludicrous. Carmelo is still, 100% getting a max deal (barring a Shaun Livingston type injury over the next 4 months). He's a mega star in a mega star's league and will be getting 4/96 or 5/129 from someone.

Ok, so what does this have to do with the Celtics?

Well, to start, the Knicks are in the Celtics division. So if New York suddenly deals Melo, their 51% chance of making the playoffs suddenly spikes up a bit.

And there's also the fact that Boston happens to have plenty of assets to try and pry Carmelo from New York. They have $19 million in expiring contracts (Humphries, Bogans, Crawford), several young, cost controlled players (Bradley, Sullinger, Olynyk) and a ridiculous nine first round picks between now and 2018. If New York would be willing to deal Anthony - Boston could put together a pretty enticing offer.

Something like:

Humphries, Bogans, Crawford, Sullinger, Boston's 2014 1st rounder, Boston's 2016 1st (Because of a rule stating signed-and traded players can't be traded until six months after they were acquired, this deal (and any deal involving Bogans) couldn't happen until at least January 12th).

In the deal the Knicks would pick up a really good young player in Sully plus two first round picks and a bunch of expiring deals. That's a pretty nice haul if they're actually fearing a Melo departure.

But then the question becomes - is it worth mortgaging a good percentage of your future assets for a soon to be 30 year old Melo? Personally, I say no. It would be one thing if it were only costing you money. Despite his warts, I'd pay Carmelo $20+ million simply because of how rare his talents are. But If you acquire Anthony and pair him with a soon to be maxed out Rondo, you're basically going all in on that duo. Ainge would still have seven first round picks and some young talent to try and deal for another star (Julian's trade proposal touched on some of this the other day), but is Rondo + Carmelo + 1 more star enough to win a title in the NBA? Considering some of the shortcomings that both Rondo and Carmelo have..I say more than likely it's not.

So while the Carmelo rumors will only get louder as we move towards the deadline, the Celtics just aren't the destination for him. Sure, they have the pieces. But New York is unlikely to move him to a division rival, and even if they did, Ainge would be making a mistake by giving up a ton to get him. He's a great talent, but the Celtics should see this rebuild through. Keep Sullinger and the picks and let's see what happens the rest of this season and the lottery. Once the summer comes around - that's when Ainge could possibly start getting creative with a deal.

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