One of the many positives of the Sixers trading up to get Markelle Fultz is the statement of intent it represents. By tying multiple high-value assets to a deal for a 19-year-old kid, it shelves a lot of win now moves, instead keeping the focus on development and putting young guys in the best situation to succeed.
That doesn’t mean the franchise will stop being tied to players who can provide more immediate help. According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was looking for a way out of the hellish situation in New York, and the Sixers were one of a couple teams that came to mind.
Carmelo and his actress wife, La La, are estranged, and with Anthony having a close relationship with his only son, he is reluctant to move out of New York. According to a person familiar with Anthony's thinking, Carmelo is no longer enamored with playing in Los Angeles if it means having to be away from his son for an extended period of time.
Anthony, according to the same source, was toying with the idea of orchestrating a move to either Philadelphia or Washington, which would keep him close to New York. However, Anthony's mindset now is to stay in New York and play for the Knicks... even though Jackson doesn't want him.
Though Anthony’s reasons for a potential move to Philadelphia aren’t exclusively basketball related, this sort of shoots down the idea that the Sixers are some toxic waste dump no one would dream of playing in. Those who thought the dramatic rebuilding process would kill the franchise for an extended period of time look a little silly in light of this news.
The more interesting question is whether or not Anthony would have been on Philadelphia’s radar. Judging from conversations I’ve had with people in the organization, Brett Brown’s public comments and team philosophy, and Anthony’s theoretical fit alongside the pieces in place, he seems pretty far down a Sixers specific priority list. He’s a gifted player, but he’s getting paid a fortune at age 33 and was no one’s idea of an engaged defender even at his peak.
If Anthony was joining up in a manner similar to Joe Johnson in Utah last season, I would be totally on board. But he doesn’t strike me as someone at that stage of his career yet, happy to tag along and capable of unleashing a vintage scoring outburst on occasion. Even if you could convince him to play at the four spot—which he has been reluctant to do despite it being a good match for him—then you’re potentially taking other young, developing players out of their ideal defensive roles.
Let’s talk about this again in a few years. If a grizzled ‘Melo wants to be the wild-card veteran that helps swing a Sixers playoff series, sign me up. But at this juncture, I’d give up nothing of consequence to have him link up with the young core, and the team would be much better served just focusing on the youth movement for now.
Editor’s Note: Also, this tweet forever.