Ultimately, if the Knicks do not get assurances from Anthony that he will re-sign with them this summer, they may have no choice but to trade the 10-year-veteran. Otherwise, they risk letting him walk in free agency with no other star player to build around, just like the Los Angeles Lakers who lost Dwight Howard for nothing.
Griffin, who is only 24 years old, could be an even bigger draw in Manhattan than he is in Los Angeles and is already a box office type of talent. The Knicks will not have any cap space to make a run at free agents this summer, but over $49 million comes off their books in 2015 when Tyson Chandler, A’mare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani are free agents. Griffin would be an attractive player who could recruit other top free agents to come to New York, just like how Chris Paul only wanted to play for the Clippers because of him. Lob City would have never existed if it wasn’t for Griffin being in Los Angeles first.
A straight-up Anthony-Griffin deal is not as simple as it seems though. Anthony makes $21.3 million this season where Griffin is at $16.4 million, and the Clippers are already over the luxury tax threshold, so other players would need to be added for the contracts to match up. The contracts of Matt Barnes ($3.2 million) and Maalik Wayns ($788,872) would be a few of the options the Clippers could throw in to the deal.
Would the Knicks be willing to take on the four years that Barnes has on his contract, when they already have Metta World Peace at small forward? They would have two bad boys on the roster with Barnes and World Peace.
What would the starting lineup look like for the Knicks? Chandler, Griffin, World Peace or J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton (when healthy). Chandler is an active, defensive-minded, aggressive center who would be a perfect compliment next to Griffin who is more of a finesse power forward.
The Clippers on the other hand would be sacrificing their future by giving up Griffin for one of the game’s lethal scorers in Anthony who has longed to play with CP3 since 2010, according to Broussard’s report. CP3 will be 29 in May and Anthony turns 30 then, so that would give them a two to three year window of making a title run together.
There is still a lot of time before the trade deadline next month but if the Knicks decide to trade Anthony, building around Griffin may be one of their best options.