The Oklahoma City Thunder shocked the NBA when they traded Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott for New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony this past week.
Several teams expressed interest in Anthony, including the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Cavs reportedly had a deal in place to acquire Anthony.
The Knicks wanted Cleveland center Tristan Thompson in exchange for Melo, but the Cavaliers declined according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Cleveland wanted to send Iman Shumpert and other pieces for Carmelo, but the Knicks were set on Thompson.
“The Knicks wanted Thompson, 26, a center who like James is represented by Rich Paul,” Vardon said. “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.”
According to TNT’s David Aldridge, the Knicks also wanted Anthony out of the Eastern Conference—similar to what the Pacers wanted with Paul George.
Thompson is under contract for three more years, so it’s understandable why Cleveland wouldn’t want to give him up considering he’s one of the best defensive players on the roster.
Adding Melo to LeBron, Kevin Love and Isaiah Thomas would’ve made Cleveland an even more explosive offense, but they likely would’ve struggled more defensively.