The Knicks plans to trade Carmelo Anthony dragged out deep into the summer offseason — much farther than Anthony or the Knicks wanted them to. The reason? Anthony had a no trade clause and was insistent on going to Houston or nowhere. The Rockets were interested, but only if they could send Ryan Anderson out (he was owed $60 million over three years coming into this season) and other players, and the Knicks didn’t want him. Third teams were engaged, but no deal was done.
Anthony, through it all, expected the pieces to come together — and thought he, Chris Paul, and James Harden would team up this season, then be joined by LeBron James next season, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.
He’d been talking to friends about teaming up with Chris Paul and, eventually, LeBron James in Houston and how the Rockets could match up with the defending champion Golden State Warriors. He went as far as to detail individual matchups between that hypothetical Rockets team and the Warriors, surmising that he and the Rockets could take out the Warriors. For most of the offseason, Anthony was confident that the Knicks and Rockets would get a deal together.
Eventually, the Knicks new front office — Steve Mills and Scott Perry — came to Anthony with a plan to go to the Thunder, and that came together. That big three got off to a rough start this season, and while the offense is still a lot of “you take a turn, now you take a turn” they are starting to find more of a groove and winning games.
Rumors of the Rockets chasing LeBron this summer refuse to die, although to pull it off would require not only moving Anderson but Eric Gordon and a lot more of the team’s depth (especially if LeBron isn’t giving any discounts, the best way to make this work is for LeBron to do what CP3 did last year, opt into the last year of his current contract for a trade). But it’s not likely — and unless Anthony wants to opt out of $28 million to play for the minimum, he’s not joining them.
I think LeBron and Wade in Cleveland are as close to Team Banana Boat as we are going to get.