Report: Knicks “getting closer” to talking ‘Melo trade

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Does having 31-year-old Carmelo Anthony — and the four-years, $101 million remaining on the contract he signed last summer — at the center of the rebuilding Knicks roster make much sense? I bet the business operations people at Madison Square Garden say yes — he still sells tickets/jerseys/ is at the heart of their marketing. Basketball wise, if the team can jumpstart the rebuilding with what would come back in a trade, it would have to be considered. Also, would ‘Melo himself be open to moving to a team where he can chase a ring?

The Knicks may be coming around to the idea of trading the guy with the name on the top of the marquee, reports Zach Lowe at Grantland (in a throw away line in a post talking about the trade market for Markieff Morris).

The Kings and Knicks should take a look, even though neither has movable assets that would interest Phoenix — unless the Knicks are ready to engage in Carmelo Anthony trade talks. (They’re not there, yet. But they’re getting closer.)

Two things have to happen for the Knicks even to open the door to trading Anthony, and neither is likely before next summer.

First, Knicks owner James Dolan has to sign off on it. Phil Jackson is paid $12 million a year to keep the meddling owner at arm’s length from basketball operations and decision-making — but there is no way Dolan wouldn’t be part of this discussion. Anthony, for all his flaws, is the guy Dolan wanted. He’s the guy people pay to see play. Is Dolan ready to jettison his star and fully embrace the rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis (without a lot of picks in the near future)?

Second, Anthony would need to waive his no-trade clause, and I can think of tens of millions of reasons he would choose to wait on that, all because of his 15 percent trade kicker.

I think Anthony is a Knick for another season. In part because the Knicks want to be respectable this season — they went out and got Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo for a reason.

Where it gets interesting is next summer — the salary cap spikes, two-thirds of the NBA has max salary cap space they want to fill, there aren’t nearly enough free agents worth that money, and suddenly an Anthony trade becomes more attractive. Plus, he gets more of his trade kicker dollars.

So getting closer sounds about right. By next summer, it might be very close.