The lazy days of the NBA summer are usually boring, but in the 2017 offseason we’re getting plenty of buzz from a league that’s usually dormant this time of year thanks to Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony pushing for a trade.
From mid-July after most of the free agents have found a new home or stayed put, until early September when preseason officially begins, not a lot happens in the league. But when two stars of this caliber are trying to find a new team in somewhat surprising fashion, it gives the NBA something it always wanted from the NFL: Almost year-round coverage and pull.
It’s not that surprising with Anthony considering the Knicks aren’t close to competing for anything, and he suddenly wants to win championships, cares about being competitive. Anthony who signed that 5-year extension not too long ago was all about landing a max deal and staying in New York. A disastrous decision for both sides. Anthony is trying to carve a way to Houston, and join James Harden and Chris Paul.
With Irving, it’s not about winning. He has a championship ring. According to the rumors surrounding his demands, Irving wants to be the number one player on a team instead of playing in LeBron James’ shadow. A reasonable request which goes against the current trend of building super teams.
Not necessarily a believable demand. In my opinion Irving is sensing that James is leaving at the end of the season (Lakers?), and simply wants to beat him to it. Whether he gets his wish or not might not be resolved so quickly. He wants four teams (Heat, Knicks, Timberwolves, Spurs) but he could end up somewhere else. Before Brandon Knight got injured for the season, the Phoenix Suns seemed like serious contenders to make an offer for him. The Timberwolves are also in the picture, and so are the Denver Nuggets.
Anthony is more difficult to move. He can still put up points on the board, but not much else. Unless you believe his disappearing defense and other fading-away aspects in his game are a cause of being unhappy with the situation, bringing Anthony in with the kind of cap hit he brings and his type of slow, ball hogging basketball doesn’t make much sense for a team trying to win through contemporary basketball style.
Anthony has a no-trade clause, so he has the leverage of trying to land with a team he wants and a situation he wants to be in. Irving doesn’t have that luxury, and could end up being less than happy with leaving if he doesn’t land in one of his preferred destinations.