The Boston Celtics will likely look at All-Star small forward Carmelo Anthony as a fall-back option if they fail to bring in any marquee free-agents this summer. According to Marc Beerman of the New York Post, the possibility of seeing Melo playing in Boston has increased after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ dominant showing against the Celtics in their Eastern Conference Finals showdown.

In his latest article, Beerman talked about how the lopsided conference finals will motivate Celtics general manager Danny Ainge to pull the trigger on the Melo trade.

Boston had several failed attempts to trade for Anthony in the past, but many NBA executives at the NBA Draft Combine believe the Cavaliers’ all-out thrashing of the Celtics coupled with an uneventful off-season could finally force Ainge to gamble on the 32-year old Anthony.

“Some NBA executives at Chicago’s draft combine predicted the extent of Ainge’s offseason retooling hinged solely on whether his team was competitive with Cleveland and could take the Cavaliers to six hard-fought games,” Beerman reported.

Trade Package for Anthony

The Knicks front-office, headed by Phil Jackson, has openly expressed their intention to trade their aging superstar. The Celtics are capable of pulling off blockbuster trades at any moment because of its collection of trade assets in the form of draft picks and young players.

Any trade negotiation involving Anthony would require the player’s approval, since he can exercise his no-trade clause.

If the Celtics somehow pique the curiosity of Anthony, the Knicks are expected to ask for the inclusion of 3-and-D player Jae Crowder (a personal favorite of Jackson), a 2018 first-round pick and possibly Jonas Jerebko via sing-and-trade scenario.

The Celtics don’t need to unload more salaries to facilitate a deal because they have the ability to absorb Anthony’s $31 million salary for next season with its cap space ($30 million).

Gordon Hayward is still priority

Again, the first priority for Ainge and his front-office team is to acquire an All-Star caliber wingman, and so far they are very much focused on pursuing Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz.

Hayward, who is expected to opt out from the final year of his contract and hit the free-agency market this summer, is undoubtedly the number one target on the Celtics’ free-agency wishlist. Hayward is coming off a strong year, as he averaged 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game during the 2016/17 season.

The Jazz are still the favorites to retain Hayward’s service because of their ability to place a longer and more lucrative offer, although the Celtics give him the opportunity to play for a big-market franchise and reunite with former college coach Brad Stevens. Aside from Hayward, the Celtics are also targeting All-Star wingmen Paul George and Jimmy Butler through trades, making Anthony the fourth wingman option for Ainge.