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NBA PM: Carmelo to the Clippers No Slam Dunk

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Adding Carmelo No Slam Dunk For Clippers

Since arriving to the New York Knicks on Presidents’ Day in 2011, Carmelo Anthony has been a polarizing figure. Over six years since his arrival, the team has struggled to become a power in the NBA, winning just one playoff series with him as the primary scorer. With the Knicks closing in on failing to make the playoffs for a third consecutive season, Anthony is closing in on his 33rd birthday. There were a great many who felt that the Knicks and Anthony would have been best to part ways, with a recent report from Ian Begley of ESPN stating that the Knicks are fully committed to moving on from Anthony this summer.

With the Knicks currently on a four-game Western Conference road trip, they took their show to Los Angeles to battle the Clippers on Monday. It was there that Anthony acknowledged that there was “an opportunity” for him to join the Clippers this past February. Apparently, though, making such a move wasn’t amenable to Anthony, as it is well-documented that he wields a might no-trade clause and that Phil Jackson may not be his biggest fan.

People close to Anthony insist that he is happy and comfortable living in New York City, but it has long been assumed that Anthony would welcome the opportunity to relocate to Los Angeles (where he maintains an offseason home) to chase a championship with the likes of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Doc Rivers and Chris Paul, the latter being one of Anthony’s good friends.

It has also been assumed that Steve Ballmer, whose net worth was estimated at $28 billion by Forbes magazine in December 2016, has limitless spending potential. Perhaps that’s a good assumption, but nonetheless, these are some very interesting times for both Anthony and the Clippers.

Back in January, in this very space, we made the case that Anthony and the Clippers needed one another. Anthony seems to have run his course in New York, and the team is obviously nowhere near contention. Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles, the Clippers have slowly but surely regressed since squandering a 3-1 series lead to the Houston Rockets during the 2015 NBA Playoffs.

What if the Clippers have simply run their course?

Doc Rivers is rumored to have maintained some level in interest in reuniting with the Orlando Magic, while Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick, Marreese Speights and Luc Mbah a Moute are each set to hit free agency this summer. Last season, the payroll for the Clippers exceeded $96 million. This season, it’s about $115 million. If the team doesn’t advance deep into the playoffs this season, would Ballmer be willing to invest the $400 million in combined contracts it will likely take to re-sign Paul, Griffin and Redick?

On top of all of that, would he then sign off on acquiring Anthony, whose 2017-18 salary is about $26 million? If so, that could have the Clippers spending somewhere around $95 million on just those four players. And based on what we have seen, would we even expect the Clippers to be a top four seed out West? Neither the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs nor the Houston Rockets seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and the Utah Jazz are a team on the rise that may be battling for a top-four seed out West for years to come.

All in all, the Clippers may still make the most sense for a Carmelo Anthony trade, but before we all go spending Steve Ballmer’s money, it should at least be acknowledged that an Anthony acquisition, especially for a team that will be focused on re-signing its own top three free agents, might be a very expensive (and risky) proposition.

The Process To Undergo Surgery?

After showing just enough to win the hearts of those in the City of Brotherly Love, Joel Embiid’s NBA season ended after just 31 games. A rather weak showing by the 2016 draft class had many wondering whether Embiid would still find a way to take the award home, but today, many more are wondering if he will ever even play a full season.

Embiid was ruled out for the season back on March 1, a torn meniscus the cause. After a few weeks of uncertainty surrounding whether or not he would undergo a surgical procedure to repair it, Marc Stein of ESPN reports that it is “very likely” that he will.

While it may be understandable for panic to ensue—Embiid has played in only 31 games through his first three professional seasons—both Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Brook Lopez serve as examples of big men who were eventually able to overcome problems with their lower extremities to have long and productive careers. Lopez has missed just six games this season, putting him on pace to play in 75. He similarly appeared in 72 and 73 games in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, respectively.

At the very least, it should be noted that not every big man with injuries ends up like Yao Ming or Greg Oden, though there certainly is enough cause to be legitimately concerned about Embiid and his long term prospects of remaining healthy and impactful.

On the bright side for the Sixers, Ben Simmons, the first overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, is expected to make a difference from the time he steps on the court. And although the Los Angeles Lakers enter play on March 22 with the second-worst record in the league, should their lottery pick fall outside of the top three, it will belong to the Sixers.

Despite the unfortunate news involving Embiid, it’s still difficult to not be high on the Sixers, especially considering what they’ve showed this season.

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About Moke Hamilton

Moke Hamilton

Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders, covering the NBA and international basketball.