The reason why Carmelo Anthony’s trade to Oklahoma City yesterday was such big news is partly that nobody saw it coming. Oklahoma City was never really a team considered in the mix for trading for him.

The Houston Rockets and, for a while, the Cleveland Cavaliers were supposedly the only teams Carmelo would be open to joining.

Obviously, things changed. The Rockets couldn’t reach a deal, and the Thunder stepped up when nobody else would.

But whatever happened to the Cavaliers? Why did their offer not fall through?

Of course, Anthony lost interest after Kyrie Irving left. However, they were considered huge contenders before then, and Anthony actually re-added them to the list a few hours before he was dealt. The Cavs had plenty of opportunities, even after the Kyrie Irving trade, to make a deal for Melo. So why did it all fall apart?

The answer could lie in what the Knicks were asking for, which may have been too costly for the Cavs to consider. According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the Knicks wanted Tristan Thompson in any potential trade for Carmelo.

Even as one of the team’s most intriguing players, Tristan Thompson is one of the Cavs’ most expandable assets. The rebounding big man has provided a lot of positive energy for Cleveland over the years, but he has yet to blossom into a true star.

Despite those facts, the organization obviously values him over Carmelo Anthony.

The Cavs did miss an opportunity, but it could be worth it if Thompson steps up this season. With Kyrie gone, Thompson could see the ball a lot more than he’s used to this year. Tyronn Lue even admitted that he intends to keep Tristan in the starting lineup.

The results of this decision will not come to light at least until the end of the year. The Cavs could have had Carmelo, but evidently stuck with their young, rebounding big man over him. Honestly, who knows how it’ll play out. And in the middle of all these unknowns, one sure-fire thing is pretty obvious at this point: Tristan Thompson better step up his game, or he’ll forever be remembered as a missed opportunity.

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