It’s now the offseason, which means folks start heavily
stalking monitoring the social media habits of NBA players, and not 48 hours removed from the Finals, J.R. Smith set off the first five-alarm “like.”
The fearless Cleveland Cavaliers guard, who shot 58 percent from 3-point range in his team’s five-game series loss to the Golden State Warriors, or someone running his Instagram account, put his stamp of approval on a Photoshopped post of Carmelo Anthony in a Cavs uniform with LeBron James.
The post, created by user @president_dope and shared on Bleacher Report, featured the caption, “Yo Mel … you know what to do!” — along with a plea for free-agent forward Blake Griffin to join them on a Cavaliers team that was just outmanned by a stacked Warriors squad. The possibility remains someone with access to Smith’s account “liked” the photo, but that like has remained up for hours.
Regardless, why wouldn’t Smith like the thought of Anthony providing reinforcements on the Cavs? The two played together for almost a decade from 2006-15, reaching a Western Conference Finals with the Denver Nuggets and capturing a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with the New York Knicks. LeBron and ‘Melo also won a pair of Olympic gold medals playing together for USA Basketball.
The Knicks have made no secret of their intention to shop Anthony this summer, as team president Phil Jackson told the media at his exit interview in April, “We’ve not been able to win with him on the court at this time and the direction of our team is that he is a player that would be better somewhere else, and using his talents somewhere else where he can win and chase that championship.”
There is little doubt Anthony could help the Cavs improve their already potent offense to keep pace with the Warriors, but the question is what it would cost to obtain the 12-time All-Star. With no first-round pick to trade and needing to match salaries in a deal for a maxed-out ‘Melo, who has two years and $54 million left on his contract, Cleveland would most likely have to part ways with Kevin Love.
The thought of trading a 28-year-old Love for the 33-year-old Anthony at the detriment of an already shaky defense should give Cavs GM David Griffin pause, so long as LeBron doesn’t threaten to leave as a free agent in 2018 without Anthony’s support. Given the potential for desperation by both Jackson and Griffin in such a scenario, LeBron and ‘Melo joining forces in Cleveland isn’t as wild as it may seem.
It’s certainly less crazy than trying to figure out the Cavaliers’ path to challenging the Kevin Durant-led Warriors again by monitoring Smith’s likes on Instagram. Now, excuse me while I try to decipher what Isaiah Thomas following Gordon Hayward on social media means for the future of the Boston Celtics.
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