So, when I read that the two teams were working on a deal and were looking to add additional teams into the mix, I rushed over to ESPN's NBA Trade Machine and worked my magic. As all four of my loyal readers know, there's nothing that I enjoy more than working on fictional trades and then projecting the hypothetical rotation.
Here is how Danny Ainge can get the Celtics into a four-way trade that also includes Portland.
Boston ships Jae Corwder and Marcus Smart to the Knicks, along with their first round pick in 2021. The Knicks also get Ed Davis from Portland (to make the salaries work) and a future first round pick from Houston.
The Rockets not only land Anthony but also get Meyers Leonard from Portland and Demetrius Jackson from the Celtics.
Portland gains Ryan Anderson from Houston and Jordan Mickey from Boston as well as the first round pick owed to the Celtics by the Clippers.
For their trouble, the Celtics gain Eric Gordon from the Rockets and Noah Vonleh from the Blazers.
Why does each team make this trade?
The Knicks get two first round picks in addition to Smart, who they can afford to re-sign when he becomes a restricted free agent in 2018, and Crowder, a solid young veteran player who has one of the best contracts in basketball. Davis is an expiring contract that comes off the books next summer. New York also saves nearly $10-million on the trade.
Houston gets Anthony to pair with James Harden and Chris Paul in their quest to dethrone the Warriors in the Western Conference. Leonard is a cheap replacement for Ryan Anderson as a sweet shooting big man while Jackson's contract is only partially guaranteed and he can be released.
Portland gets Anderson, an upgrade over Leonard, as well as a future first round pick. Mickey can be released without penalty as he's on a non-guaranteed contract.
As for the Celtics, Eric Gordon gives them a legitimate scoring threat at shooting guard wile Vonleh, a Haverhill native, gives them a young big with some potential.
Gordon is coming off a season in which he averaged 16.2 points per game and he's a career 38% shooter from three-point range. Adding another scorer to a lineup that already features Isaiah Thomas and Gordon Hayward gives Boston the necessary firepower to contend with the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
Under this hypothetical fantasy deal, Boston's lineup would look something like this:
Guards: Isaiah Thomas, Eric Gordon, Terry Rozier
Wings: Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris
Forwards: Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Noah Vonleh, Ante Zizic, Semi Ojeleye
Ainge would likely need to use the Bi-Annual Exception to add one more veteran ball handler and 2017 second round picks Kadeem Allen and Jabari Bird could both get a serious look to add depth in the back court.