Tuesday night, the NBA world was stunned yet again by another blockbuster trade, sending Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and an unprotected first-round pick in 2018, originally owned by the Brooklyn Nets.
This was the fourth trade involving former All-Stars in the league since the offseason began. Paul George was dealt to the Thunder just before free agency, Jimmy Butler on draft night to the Wolves, and of course, Chris Paul came to Houston right in between.
Irving had been in trade rumors for a few weeks after he showed disdain for staying in Cleveland. He wanted to be “the guy” elsewhere. New York, Miami, and San Antonio were rumored destinations. Instead, Boston swooped up on him for Isaiah Thomas, an All-Star, Jae Crowder, a defensive-minded forward with one of the best contracts of value in the league, Ante Zizic, a promising rookie center, and a 1st rounder in next year’s draft, likely to be a Top 5 pick considering it originally belonged to Brooklyn.
That’s a HUGE package for Kyrie. This is not to demean Irving or downsize his capabilities, but I opine that Boston gave up a lot for him, probably too much.
There’s one more all-star looking to be dealt this offseason: Carmelo Anthony. And this is where the Rockets come in.
The Rockets have been looking to acquire Anthony for months now it seems. Ever since CP3 came aboard, it looks as if Melo has been on Houston’s radar. In fact, the Rockets are the only team that he will waive his no-trade clause for. The Irving-Thomas trade now asks, how much will Melo cost?
In the trend of trading for superstars, normally the cost has been lower than anticipated.
DeMarcus Cousins only cost New Orleans Buddy Hield, a first-round pick, and expiring contracts in Langston Galloway and Tyreke Evans.
Jimmy Butler was traded for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the chance to move up nine picks in the draft this past June.
Paul George was traded for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo, the same package Orlando traded for Serge Ibaka.
Once those trades went down, it looked like Carmelo’s price wouldn’t be all that expensive. But with Irving’s price gone through the roof, Melo’s could do the same.
This could be really bad for Houston. The Rockets would need to trade Ryan Anderson in any deal as well as non-guaranteed Tim Quarterman. Picks would also need to be involved, but swapping picks, Quarterman, and Anderson for an All-Star in Anthony is a steal for Houston. Now, New York might not settle for a deal like that. They would want more, perhaps a guy like Zhou Qi or Chinanu Onuaku. Trading the farm for a guy past his prime is a risk, and it is a risk that the Rockets might not be willing to take.
If it was so easy to trade Anthony, it would have been done by now. After the Kyrie deal though, one has to imagine, it might be beneficial for the Knicks to seek out better deals for their star player, and that could significantly hurt the Rockets chances of acquiring him.