For the past few months, the New York Knicks have actively shopped star small forward Carmelo Anthony. Anthony has made it clear from the start of the offseason he wants to leave New York, a team which is still reeling from a gloomy 31-51 season last year. Although many teams have been rumored to be in talks to acquire him, including the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets, the Bucks had not been involved until Tuesday.
The preliminary trade package the Bucks put together was centered around rising star Jabari Parker. Parker was the 2nd pick in the 2014 NBA draft, but his young career as a forward has been hampered by two substantial knee injuries. Jabari was only 25 games into his rookie season when he tore his ACL, an injury which would end that season and extend into his sophomore year. Parker is currently recovering from a second ACL tear suffered in February. While these injuries have affected Jabari’s worth in trades, his on court play has surely been promising to say the least.
Parker started 72 games during the 2015-16 NBA season, his healthiest season so far, and posted averages of 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds. As well, Parker has some other great pluses: he’s only in his third year as an NBA player, and he is on an extremely small contract of $6.8 million/year, compared to Carmelo’s colossal $24.6 million/year – Parker’s contract would be a drop in the bucket for New York. While Anthony’s career is now on the decline, Jabari still has the potential to show everyone why Sports Illustrated called him “the best high school basketball player since LeBron James.” If Parker can overcome his injury woes, he may just live up to the hype that accompanied him coming out of high school.
While the chances of Parker actually heading to the Big Apple are quite low, it is fun to ask what if. What if Jabari became the savior of Madison Square, taking Carmelo’s place and leading the Knicks headfirst into glory? It’s not likely, but with the way the NBA offseason has gone so far, anything is possible.