The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and there is a lot of smoke but little fire right now. The futures of several leading stars are unclear and may not be settled anytime soon, but they’ll loom large over the deadline action of numerous teams. It means there’s no shortage of intrigue as teams explore their options.
Here are eight major storylines that will define Thursday’s trade deadline.
8) The future of the Wizards
John Wall’s brutal injury may well shake up an organization that already seemed to be at a crossroads. It’s unlikely that the Wizards are going to undertake a major course change just because of the Wall injury, but the future of their organization is very murky right now. There’s no guarantee that Wall is the same player in a year when he returns from his injury, and all eyes will shift to Bradley Beal, a talented player who seems to be trapped in an increasingly hopeless situation.
The Chicago Bulls are expected to waive Carmelo Anthony on Friday, and he will likely clear waivers and become a free agent. As of now, the Los Angeles Lakers remain among his most likely suitors.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers remain a “real possibility” to sign Anthony once he clears waivers and the dust settles from next Thursday’s trade deadline.
Anthony is expected to clear waivers and will then have a better sense of a possible destination with league-wide roster movement post-trade deadline. The Lakers remain a real possibility for 'Melo beyond Thursday's deadline, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/6ySgYf3Nh8
It was previously reported that the Lakers did not want to part ways with a guaranteed player in order to open up a roster spot for Anthony, so that could work itself out if the team makes a trade. The Lakers have been at the forefront of discussions involving Anthony Davis, though it’s unclear if the New Orleans Pelicans are motivated to move Davis prior to the deadline. If Los Angeles does not end up making a move, it may make adding Anthony to the roster more difficult.
While Anthony is clearly on the back end of his career and may not be able to contribute much at this point, you could argue he has the most important endorsement he needs for joining the Lakers. It would not be a surprise if that worked in his favor.
The Heat are slated to play in New York on March 30, which would be Wade’s final appearance at MSG. Anthony, however, probably hopes he’ll be with an NBA team by then. He’s hinted at being eager to resume his career, and the consensus is that the Bulls will eventually waive him, allowing him to catch on with another organization around or after the trade deadline.
It’s unclear where Carmelo Anthony will land after he is waived by the Chicago Bulls, but reports indicate that one eventual destination could be the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers do have some interest in Anthony, but aren’t willing to get rid of a guaranteed player to open up the roster spot necessary to accommodate him. It is likely that Los Angeles’s roster situation would have to change before Anthony could land with the Lakers.
Sources: The Lakers maintain interest in Anthony, but do not want to waive a guaranteed player to create a roster spot for him, league sources tell ESPN. If a roster spot eventually opens with LA, yes, the Lakers are a possible destination for Anthony.
By trading Anthony, the Rockets will save $2.6 million on their luxury tax bill. The move is likely a financially-motivated one for the Bulls, too, as they are currently 11-36 and have no use for a veteran scorer. Wojnarowski added that they are expected to waive Anthony.
Anthony won't play a game for the Bulls, league source tells ESPN. He will be released and become a free agent if he clears waivers. https://t.co/Oo2IA0nsJP
The situation is similar to what happened with Anthony before he ended up with the Rockets, when he was first traded to the Atlanta Hawks and never played a game for them. Carmelo even cracked a funny joke about that when it happened.
It’s unclear how much Anthony has left in the tank. The 34-year-old appeared in just 10 games for Houston and averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. There has been speculation that he could finally end up playing alongside his good friend LeBron James.
The easy interpretation is that this relates to his NBA career. Anthony has not played since reaching an agreement with the Houston Rockets in November to no longer play for them. He still has been taking up a roster spot though, and past reports said he might not find a new team until February. The Athletic’s Sam Amick even reported that Anthony has multiple options and will likely pick one before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
Even though he has not played in a while, Anthony seems to believe he is something of quality and the layoff won’t be an issue.
Carmelo Anthony is hoping to win a championship ring before he retires. And what do NBA players do when they want to give themselves the best chance at winning a title? They try to make their way to the Golden State Warriors, of course.
On Wednesday morning, Anthony sent a pair of since-deleted tweets that many viewed as his way of trying to sell himself to the Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. The first tweet was directed at LeBron James, and the second went to Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.
Anthony is technically still under contract with the Houston Rockets, but he’s on leave after his brief stint with them did not work out. The 34-year-old’s game is nowhere near the level it used to be, which is why some wonder if his NBA career could be coming to a close.
LeBron James is not putting pressure on his Los Angeles Lakers to acquire Carmelo Anthony, but he’d be happy if they did.
LeBron and Carmelo were seen dining together while the Lakers were in New York for their Tuesday night game against the Brooklyn Nets. That led to a question after the Lakers’ loss to the Nets about James’ desire to play with Anthony.
After being spotted getting dinner with Carmelo Anthony in NYC, LeBron was asked if he’d want to play with him on the Lakers. He says yes – which is pretty obvious given their history – but stops short of making any sort of declaration that LAL needs to make it happen. pic.twitter.com/6HVtPwQ7Ak
James and Anthony were in the same 2003 NBA Draft class and are part of the same friend group that also includes Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. James’ people have made it known via media reports that they’d like Anthony on the Lakers, but nothing has happened on that front.
Anthony is currently on leave from the Houston Rockets after his brief stint with them turned into a bust. There is some thinking that his NBA future is in question.
Anthony remains a member of the Houston Rockets but has not played for them since Nov. 8. The team reached an agreement with Anthony to remain away from the team.
According to Vardon, LeBron and his camp will not outwardly tell Lakers management that they want the team to add Anthony, but they want it known that they believe Anthony can still play and that he could be of use to the Lakers.
A word of advice to LeBron and the Lakers: Don’t do it. Anthony is not a good player anymore. He’s terrible on defense and he was a total negative for both the Thunder and Rockets. If LeBron wants his team to improve, he needs to rid himself of this thought.