Once again, the Cleveland Cavaliers missed out on a small forward target on the trade market. While obtaining Carmelo Anthony wasn’t a priority target in the same way as Paul George, it’s clear that the team still had interest for him if it was for the right price.
The Knicks wanted Thompson, 26, a center who like James is represented by Rich Paul. The Cavs told them no. Thompson is under contract for three more seasons, beginning at $16.4 million this year. Cleveland was willing to do a deal that would've cleared some contracts off the books, such as sending Iman Shumpert ($11 million this year) and others.
With a limited number of teams on the 33 year old Anthony’s contract, the Knicks simply didn’t have the leverage to ask for a real piece in return. They had to help the Thunder get rid of their worst contract and only received a second round pick in return.
As much as it would have been nice for the Cavs to add Anthony’s firepower, it simply wouldn’t have been worth giving up Thompson. It would be nearly impossible to play Anthony at the same time as LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Jae Crowder. Not to mention how the move would have completely decimated the team’s defense and left them with Ante Zizic as their only center.
The other important piece of information from Vardon’s report indicated where the Cavs drew the line in negotiations:
New York also asked about one of Cleveland's two first-round choices for 2018, and the Cavs weren't about to part with either.
This is important because it tells us that the Cavs were not willing to give up the ability to move one of their picks later in the season in order to acquire Anthony. Which could indicate that they are willing to move the Brooklyn pick this season, or just that they weren’t crazy about Anthony’s fit with the team. Either way, it’s clear that the Cavs offer wasn’t good enough to persuade the Knicks to accept a deal that kept him in the Eastern Conference. Like George, the Cavs lost out on Anthony to a seemingly meager offer from the Oklahoma City Thunder.