Before trading Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the New York Knicks reportedly offered him to the Cleveland Cavaliers for big man Tristan Thompson and a 2018 first-round draft pick. However, Joe Vardon of said the Cavaliers rejected the Knicks’ request, as they don’t want to part ways with Thompson and either one of their two first-round draft selections for 2018. Vardon said the Cavaliers’ decision to keep Thompson was part of efforts to convince LeBron James to stay with the team after this season. Thompson and James have the same agent – Rich Paul -- who is also a close friend of the Cavaliers’ superstar.

The Knicks then opted to trade Anthony to the Thunder for big man Enes Kanter, outside shooter Doug McDermott, and a future draft pick. Anthony will team up with Paul George and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook as the Thunder try to challenge the Golden State Warriors as the top team in the Western Conference. The Anthony trade was the second big swap sealed by the Thunder in the offseason -- the first was when they acquired George from the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Cavs would not give up first-round picks for Anthony

Earlier, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported that the Cavaliers would not surrender the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick to acquire Anthony. The pick was included in the trade package that the Boston Celtics shipped to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving.

In addition to the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, the Cavaliers also received Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a 2020 second-round pick. The Cavaliers consider the 2018 pick valuable as they can use it to select a talented young player from the 2018 NBA Draft in case James leaves the team after this season.

Thompson a reliable big man for Cavs

A fourth overall pick by the Cavaliers in the 2011 Draft, Thompson averaged 8.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in 78 starts last season. He was a vital cog in the Cavaliers’ three straight NBA Finals appearances due to his hustle and defense. Based on’s defense dashboard, Thompson was a reliable interior defender, holding opponents to 8.8 percent below their normal shooting average inside six feet and 6.3 percent less inside 10 feet last season.

In 466 games with the Cavaliers, the 6-foot-9 Thompson averaged 9.4 points and 8.6 boards on 51.5 percent shooting from the field. In 59 postseason games for the Cavaliers, he averaged 8.1 points and 9.4 boards.