But Boston apparently also talked about acquiring him itself.
Prior to the trade deadline, the Boston Celtics expressed interest in obtaining Anthony via a trade with the Knicks, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.
It is unclear if there were any formal discussions between New York and Boston and if those discussions ever reached an advanced stage. But Boston was informed that Anthony had no desire to leave the Knicks via trade to play for the Celtics, sources say.
This is pretty simple. Melo stands to make a massive bonus if traded next season or the following season. It’s a one-time bonus paid only on his first trade of this contract and would have been worth much less this season, because Melo’s salary is already so close to the max.
Unless he really wanted to leave New York and join Boston immediately, it’d be foolish to approve the trade now. The Knicks and Celtics could re-visit the trade after June 30, and there’d be a much higher chance Melo consents.
Boston has young players and draft picks to match Melo’s trade value, and those pieces could help New York rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis. Team-wise, a deal could make sense.
It’d still require Melo’s consent, and I’m unconvinced he wants to leave New York at all, let alone for Boston. But after this season, he’d probably at least consider it a little more.