Why trading for Carmelo Anthony makes sense for the Miami Heat

Mar 5, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) points into the stands before a game against the Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) points into the stands before a game against the Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

On top of the upcoming free agency period, the Miami Heat will be looking for potential trading options. Carmelo Anthony could be one of them.

Much has been made of the Miami Heat’s sensational second half of this past regular season. And rightly so. But now the focus turns to the offseason, and what potential moves will be made in order to elevate the team to the next level.

First of all, the Heat need to deal with the issue of Chris Bosh’s contract. The Heat have no intention of allowing Bosh to play another game, who still has two years and $52.1 million remaining on his current deal.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

"The Heat is confident that a doctor chosen by the league and union will rule that his condition is career-threatening or severe enough to put him at risk if he plays. Such a ruling would remove his remaining salary from Miami’s cap: $25.3 million next season and $26.8 million in 2018-19."

In the event that this goes ahead, it would create a great level of flexibility entering this free agency period. The first port of call will be deciding on the futures of free agents Dion Waiters and James Johnson. Having both put together career seasons, coming to an amicable agreement with these two will be the number one priority for the Heat’s front office.

Assuming negotiations run smoothly, this will leave very little wiggle room in cap space for the Heat. With significant contracts already in place for Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson, the trade market would be the logical next step in order to upgrade the roster.

Which leads us to Carmelo Anthony.

On a recent episode of The Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio, ESPN’s Front Office Insider, Amin Elhassan, raised the subject of Miami possibly making a move for Anthony.

"“The Heat have some cap space. Chris Bosh’s deal we expect to get removed from the cap. There’s a bunch of cap space, but here’s the problem: today’s NBA – everyone’s got money, not enough players. So where’s the value? Those under contractSecond half of the equation. Miami Heat – what are they known for more than anything else?Culture. What does the culture do? It gets James Johnson in shape, it gets Hassan Whiteside in line, it finds guys like Rodney McGruder and Okaro White.And all they do is take these people that allegedly either it’s over for them, or should never have started.And they find a way to turn their lives around. It’s like a rehab clinic.”"

Following this, he receives the question of “So we’re getting Carmelo Anthony,” to which Elhassan responds:

"I’m just saying, you go shopping, there’s not anything on the shelves that you like, they all went everywhere else. So give a call to Phil Jackson.Say I’ll give you a bucket of chicken, and maybe give me a pick because I’m helping you out.So you have Carmelo Anthony here, with a .500 team, with a different mindset…."

Elhassan raises several valid points. The first is relating to Jackson, and the lack of negotiating power the New York Knicks now hold following Jackson’s recent comments. At a press conference when addressing Anthony’s future in New York, Jackson stated:

"“We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time and I think the direction with our team is that he is a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere he can win or chase that championship.”"

This is fairly self-explanatory. Jackson has no interest in moving forward with Anthony in tow. Further, it wouldn’t require much in terms of compensation for Jackson to agree to a deal. Jackson just wants no part of Anthony and the remaining $54.1 million on his contract. The one sticking point, of course, is the no-trade clause (and 15% trade kicker) in Anthony’s contract, which allows him to veto any possible trades in which he does not want to be included in.

Furthermore, the rehabbing of players such as Johnson and Waiters makes the selling point much more appealing. Although not on Anthony’s level of performance, the transformation of both their bodies and their games has not gone unnoticed.

(Johnson signed with the Heat at 274 pounds and 14.5 percent body fat. By mid-season, he had dropped to 238 pounds and 6.75 percent body fat. In the space of two months in the preseason, Waiters dropped from 234 pounds to 222, with his body fat going from 10 percent to 7.5 percent And another newcomer, Wayne Ellington, weighted in at 222 pounds in the pre-season. By mid-season, he was down to 203 and 6.5 percent body fat.)

As to whether Anthony’s strong friendship with LeBron James could affect the Heat’s chances of trading for him, Elhassan said:

"“Yeah, but its better than being in New York. New York is ruining his career.”"

Outside of the likes of Dragic and Whiteside, the Heat have very few other tradeable assets in which they could flip to other teams to improve their roster. The Anthony situation is rare, in that you have an all-star talent whom can be obtained at an exceptionally low price.

Dan Le Batard made a very succinct summation of the situation confronting the Heat and Anthony during the show:

"“You ( Miami Heat) don’t have assets. You’ve (New York Knicks) got a guy (Anthony) who’s unhappy, discounted, is at a low point of his entire career, where people think he is totally washed. It’s a marriage of convenience.”"

Of course going after a player such as Anthony is a short-term option. Anthony, 32, has two years left on his current deal, and his time as a all star is winding down. But not only could this deal be prosperous in the short term, it could have ramifications well beyond Riley’s time in charge. As Le Batard explained:

"“How great an infomercial is it for the Miami Heat if you can save Carmelo Anthony from what he has been the last three years – if you’re an organization who could polish that up.”"

To preface this, Le Batard mentioned how the Heat were slightly tarnished with the manner of the departure of the Big Three. So not only would transforming Anthony in the latter stages off his career be a boost to the team’s immediate prospects, it would also serve as a great advertisement for free agents in the future.

Next: 5 best individual performances of the Heat's season

Granted, it’s not as though Miami’s highly regarded culture needs further reassurance, but in revitalizing a player such as Anthony, the positive public relations gained from such a move would be invaluable.