Carmelo Anthony does not want to return to the Knicks. The Knicks want to trade Carmelo Anthony. The Houston Rockets would like to trade for Carmelo Anthony.
So far all that will has not gotten a deal nearly as close to done as has been reported, I was told by sources. There are major hurdles, and the Knicks don’t like the offers they’ve gotten so far, which is why they pulled back (not because of the Scott Perry hiring or some desire to change Anthony’s mind). As has been reported before, Anthony is willing to waive his no trade clause for the right team to get the deal done, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on The Jump.
“My sources tell me he’s willing to waive the trade kicker, which is worth around $8 million, so that makes a little easier for Houston to do a trade.”
That’s nice. It doesn’t solve the core problem with a Rockets’ trade.
The Rockets are over the cap so the only way this trade gets done is they send out enough salary to match and create space for Anthony. The Rockets could do that with a combination of Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, and some expiring deals, but that cuts way too deeply into the roster and hurts the Rockets more than it helps. What the Rockets need to do in this trade is move Ryan Anderson, and his three-years, $60 million — except the Knicks don’t want that contract on their books (even though Anderson is a good player when healthy). So now the two sides are trying to find a third team that would take on Anderson’s contract, but the Rockets are going to have to give up sweeteners — a couple first round picks or a pick and a quality young player — that they don’t have to get the deal done. So enter a fourth team to get the sweeteners, but that team will want things back, and quickly the house of cards falls apart.
On top of all that, the Knicks still don’t think they’re getting enough back in the trade to want to do it. Yet, anyway.
Over on the left coast, there is Portland saying “look at us, look at us!” They would be willing to trade for Anthony, as C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard have made clear.
One massive problem with that: Anthony has not been interested in waiving his no trade clause for anyone but Cleveland and Houston.
If he changes his mind — and that’s a huge, unlikely “if” — maybe a deal could be found. The Blazers already have a top-five payroll in the NBA (may be top two when all is said and done) and that means they have to send out salary as well, someone like Evan Turner and Meyers Leonard (moving Allen Crabbe is the dream, but also highly unlikely). The Knicks could have interest in Turner, the Blazers have picks to throw in, and if a third team picked up Leonard maybe we’re close to something. But until Anthony makes it clear he would accept a trade to Portland, something he has yet to do, this is all a moot exercize.
But hey, Anthony will waive his trade kicker. So there’s that.