Ken Berger from CBS has a post tonight about how the Sixers -- and Nets -- could figure into the Carmelo Anthony trade drama. After the jump, we'll take a look at his logic, look at the various scenarios and then see if it's a trade worth making.
Before we even dive into this, I want to make one thing absolutely, 100% clear. Andre Iguodala on his current contract is a much, much better value than Carmelo Anthony on a max extension in the neighborhood of $125M (which is exactly what would happen if the Sixers swapped one for the other). That isn't to say that Iguodala and 'Melo are equal players, though it's close. Both guys produce at a high level, with their strengths obviously lying in different areas. If they had equal contracts, and you were starting a team from scratch, I think you'd probably take Carmelo because he's capable of carrying an enormous scoring load while remaining decently efficient. Here's a side-by-side comp of the two players.
Berger speculates about a couple of different scenarios. One has the Sixers sending Kapono, Green, Thad and Iguodala to Denver, and there's even talk of Turner being included in the deal (probably in Thad's place), if Melo comes back to Philly. The other variation is the Sixers acting as the third team in a deal that would send Melo to New Jersey.
The first deal, without Turner, is essentially a one-for-one swap, Iguodala for Melo, which I already said isn't a very good deal considering the contracts. If you include Turner in the deal, it's a complete joke and doesn't even warrant comment. The second deal, however, may be worth exploring.
In a three-team deal, the Sixers would essentially act as a conduit. They're actually the team with the most leverage in the deal. The Nets desperately want Melo, Denver needs to get rid of him before he walks for nothing, and they need a legitimate replacement back in the deal. Both teams need the Sixers to make the deal work.
How, exactly, could the Sixers make the deal work? First of all, we need to establish what the Sixers absolutely cannot do. They can't take Devin Harris back in the deal. No way. Harris is owed $26.8M over the next three seasons and he's redundant. If you're making this deal, Jrue and Turner are your backcourt and you're building around them. The second thing you absolutely don't do is give up either Jrue or Turner, obviously. The goal of this trade is to get three things: (1) A young piece, (2) Cap flexibility, (3) Draft pick(s).
Here's the deal I'd try for:
- Sixers send Iguodala and Thad to Denver
- Denver sends Carmelo Anthony and Ty Lawson to New Jersey, J.R. Smith to Philadelphia.
- New Jersey sends Derrick Favors, Kris Humphries to Philadelphia, Devin Harris to Denver.
The Sixers would come out of this deal with the guy with the most upside and another $10M in expiring contracts. They'd also remain below the luxury tax limit for this season. Looking forward, next summer, they'd have the following players under contract:
- Jrue Holiday (21)
- Evan Turner (23)
- Derrick Favors (20)
- Jodie Meeks (24)
- Marreese Speights (24)
- Lou Williams (25)
- Andres Nocioni (32)
- Elton Brand (32)
If all goes well, they've got their backcourt and one big in place for the next decade, at least one high lottery pick, and increasing cap flexibility over the next three summers. That represents a meaningful move, adding Carmelo Anthony to this roster in place of Andre Iguodala only makes you marginally better, at best, and ties up your cap space for the next six seasons.
Now, if you can find a way to get Melo and keep Iguodala, I'm all ears. Short of that, though, the only role I want the Sixers to play in a Melo deal is the conduit, and even then, they need to be extremely diligent in getting a smart return.