Outside of his good game against Golden State, Kevin Martin has averaged only 3.2 points on 5-29 shooting during the other 5 games of the 6 game road trip the Rockets just finished. Not only is he not playing well, but Kevin McHale, with good reason, has started benching him during the 2nd half of games. Martin has played under 20 minutes in 3 of his last 4 games and it seems that the coaching staff has not only lost confidence in the shooting guard, but even worse come to the realization that he's not a fit on this team. Why has Martin's play dropped off this season? Maybe it's just a down year, maybe he's still pouting after nearly being traded during the off-season; either way, it's time to go. I don't say that because Martin is washed up, I believe he'll turn it around, and other teams will need to believe that too, to get a deal done. I say he needs to go because I don't feel he's a good fit for this team and if Morey is to pull off the big trade that he's always talked about, he needs to move a player that not only has skill, but also is making big money. That's because in the NBA, the money involved in trades with teams that are over the salary cap have to be within 25% of each other; no salary dumps are allowed like in baseball.
So up until the Rockets trade Martin, or we reach the March 15th trade deadline (whatever comes first), I'll give you several trade ideas a week that could help the Rockets. Just so you know, every trade I propose will be run through ESPN's trade machine to verify that it would work financially. Without further adieu, here's today's idea.
Rockets Receive: Carmelo Anthony
Knicks Receive: Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, and the Knicks 1st round pick traded back to them (T-Mac Deal)
Why the Rockets would do this: This trade would bring them the star they've been chasing for several years for a player of the same position basically (both wings, Lee most likely starting at SG) and a player from a position the Rockets have great depth at. The combo of Anthony and Courtney Lee is better than the combo of Kevin Martin and Chandler Parsons in my opinion so that's already a win. That would also allow Patrick Patterson the opportunity to start at PF, who in my opinion at this point is playing at least to an equal level of Scola while being 9 years younger. The Rockets at this point would have a near All-Star in Kyle Lowry at point, a multiple time All-Star in Carmelo Anthony at the 3, and with the contracts of Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, Jordan Hill, and Terrance Williams expiring, they'd have about 13.6 million in cap space to pursue another big-time free-agent to form a team that would have to be considered a contender. Eric Gordon, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Roy Hibbert are all free-agents this off-season; if the Rockets landed any of them with Lowry, Anthony, Patterson, and Dalembert already in the lineup; that'd be a team to get excited about.
Why the Knicks would do this: Linsanity. The emergence of Jeremy Lin has shown what Mike D'Antoni's system should look like. It's a system the relies heavily on point guard controlled pick and roll plays. Lin looks to be a poor man's Steve Nash and we all know the type of numbers Amare Stoudemire put up with Nash. As great of a player as Carmelo is, he's a ball stopper. He's a guy that needs to dominate the ball to be effective and he really slows down the Knicks offense. With Lin, the Knicks are 6-0. With Carmelo and no Lin, the Knicks were 8-15; Carmelo is just a bad fit for this offense. With Scola, the Knicks would have a PF that fits their system and who gives them ability to go small (which D'Antoni loved to do in Phoenix) with Amare at the 5 and Scola at the 4. With Kevin Martin, the Knicks would get the true shooting guard that they lack and a guy that can stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting (currently the Knicks rank 26th in 3-point %). Along with Carmelo not moving the ball, one of the things holding the Knicks offense back has been that they didn't have anyone to knock down the 3 on kick outs from the pick and roll. When the Suns reached the Western Conference Finals in D'Antoni's first season, they had Joe Johnson in that roll; Kevin Martin would be a perfect fit.
Likely hood of this trade happening: 4 out of 10, Daryl Morey has pursued Carmelo before, but I don't think the Knicks will give up on him.