The good thing about the Lakers' recent struggles to be relevant on the national stage is that it has defanged quite a bit of mainstream Lakers exceptionalism. No longer do wide swaths of basketball punditry surmise that the Lakers will sign the league's top players in free agency and make lopsided trades at every turn. Perhaps Nick Young, Wes Johnson, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash have reset the standards of reasonable expectations to some degree.
The bad thing is that while the Knickerbockers are 6-16 and just 1.5 games out of last place in the East, the New York brand of exceptionalism has not faded. Witness this fever dream from Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling:
The overall cloudy Knicks picture suggests that [Carmelo] Anthony might force his hand to make the one and only trade that's best for him this season and beyond: going to the Clippers. In that scenario, a compelling blockbuster deal that fits money-wise would be Anthony and shooting guard Iman Shumpert for [Blake] Griffin, small forward Jared Dudley and center Ryan Hollins. A deal-breaker could be a future first-round pick to the Knicks.
Let's break this into its individual stunning assertions:
* There is only one singular trade that would be good for 'Melo now and going forward. Twenty-seven teams are ahead of the Knicks in the standings, but only one team would make sense for 'Melo. Got it.
* Blake Griffin! We're talking about Blake Griffin! You know who is not getting traded for a very good iso scorer in his 30s who will be signing a new max deal in July? Blake Griffin. I'm not sure there are more than five or six players in the NBA period for whom the Clippers would trade Griffin. Does anyone based outside of New York think 'Melo is on that list?
* "A deal-breaker could be a future first-round pick to the Knicks." My God. As if Griffin for 'Melo wasn't an insane enough conceit, the Knicks might need a future first to swallow it. My God.
Later in the piece, Zwerling's sources indicate that 'Melo would be more lucrative than Griffin in marketing the Clippers, which is lunacy. Griffin is among the most exciting young players in the league, an endorsement star and a guy pretty unburdened by heavy criticism. In fact, most Griffin criticism is related to the fact that he doesn't quite live up to his glitz as a player and that his profile is a little too big given his production.
There is minimal attention given to why the Clippers wouldn't do the deal; Donald Sterling is blamed/credited with vowing to never trade Griffin. The Knicks wouldn't do it because of
the Illuminati CAA, who refuse to allow their client Carmelo Anthony to leave New York, where they run business services at Madison Square Garden. Also, bonus CAA-related lunacy!
In fact, this past summer, the Knicks originally wanted to trade for Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, but "Andrea Bargnani was pushed onto the Knicks because of CAA," according to a source close to the Knicks.
Well that explains why the Knicks gave up so much in that hilarious deal for Bargnani (an unprotected 2016 pick and bit players): they initially set up the package for Aldridge, then had to call Masai Ujiri when Worldwide Wes or Jay-Z or whoever really runs the show made the Bargnani decree.
Never mind that the Blazers might have had something to say about trading Aldridge. Never mind that the Clippers would be crazy to trade Griffin for Anthony. Never mind that GMs do not sit by their phones waiting to find out how they can help CAA land its clients in New York, or to find out what the Knicks want. The Knicks are all that matters. They are exceptional, and the normal rules of NBA bargaining do not apply.
Actually, that is the case. It just happens to be, in practice, the opposite of what Zwerling presents.