Carmelo Anthony’s future with the New York Knicks is just as unclear as it was over the winter, but some clarity could be on the way.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday morning that the Knicks and Houston Rockets are talking about possible trade scenarios centering around Anthony as a part of a four-team transaction, though nothing is “imminent.”
While Anthony has a no-trade clause, he is willing to waive it if he can join Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston.
It’s that no-trade clause that has made the Knicks’ offseason such an eventful one. At the end of June, his camp approached the Knicks about a possible buyout of the final two years, $54 million of his contract, making him a free agent. Then-president Phil Jackson was for it. Owner James Dolan was not. Days later, Jackson was out as the Knicks continue their search to complete the front office.
Bringing on a third or fourth team is really the only feasible way sending Anthony to Houston could work. If the two were exclusive trade partners, the Knicks would have gotten the short end of the stick considering the only real option Houston has to send to New York is power forward Ryan Anderson, who still has $61 million left over the next three years of his contract.
Considering the Knicks have the unicorn that is Kristaps Porzingis at the 4, it makes little to no sense bringing on a huge contract that wouldn’t fit in the starting lineup.
The Knicks signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a puzzling four-year, $71 million deal as a possibility of replacing Anthony at the small forward position, but the 25-year-old admitted to the media at his introductory press conference on Monday that team management wants to see a drastic improvement in both his offensive and defensive game. It will be up to interim president and general manager Steve Mills to find a third or fourth team that could provide a bona fide replacement for Anthony or further backcourt help, bringing in a point guard that could immediately start while 2017 draft pick Frank Ntilikina develops.