Despite the numerous trade rumors involving Carmelo Anthony, Melo remains a Knick — that is until the New York Knicks manages to deal Melo to his preferred destination: the Houston Rockets. And with the Knicks’ training camp set to start on Monday, Anthony’s camp believes that a deal will be made before then.
Anthony willing to waive no-trade-clause only for the Rockets
Carmelo Anthony has been involved in trade rumors for about as long as he has been in the NBA. The rumors intensified last year with the arrival of former Knicks GM Phil Jackson and the acquisition of rising star Kristapps Porzingis. Porzingis’ success during his rookie season only added fuel to the fire and seemingly made Melo expendable. But as NBA fans know, Melo is anything but expendable.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that Anthony and his camp is “cautiously optimistic” that a deal will be made before the Knicks’ training camp begins. According to Isola, Melo and his family “have moved on to Houston” mentally, and that Anthony’s camp’s sole focus is to put together a deal that would send Melo to the Houston Rockets.
While the Melo trade situation may sound easy to pull off for the casual fans, putting a package for Melo is decidedly not an easy task. One of the biggest hurdles the Rockets and the Knicks have to deal with is Ryan Anderson’s massive contract. If Houston can’t find any trade partners for Anderson, then the chances of Melo forming a super team with fellow All-Stars James Harden and Chris Paul will be in jeopardy.
Melo to Cavs is still possible
Anthony has also been linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this offseason. Melo, at that time, has been open to playing with his good friend LeBron James. Anthony could have formed a new big three with incumbent Cavs James and Kyrie Irving if that deal materialized. The trade negotiation reportedly didn’t push through because the Knicks wanted Kevin Love and the Cavs didn’t want to part with the All-Star big man. Needless to say that Melo would have been a game changer if the Cavaliers managed to hold on to their Big 3 while adding a legitimate scorer in Anthony.
However, with Kyrie Irving now gone from the Cavaliers, the Anthony-to-Cavs rumors came up again. The Cavaliers management had said that they had no interest in Melo but revealed that they are intrigued with Kristaps Porzingis. As it turned out, the Cavs dealt Irving to the Boston Celtics but managed to shore up their perceived weaknesses by acquiring Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round.
At this point, Melo is firm that he will only waive his no-trade clause if he ends up in Houston. That being said, the Cavaliers practically have no assets that would interest the Knicks since all their recent acquisitions couldn’t be re-traded immediately so the chances of acquiring Melo is rather unrealistic at this time. However, there is still a chance that Melo could end up with the Cavs, but that is only at the trade deadline.
Where will Anthony end up this 2017-2018 season?
It is clear at this point that Carmelo Anthony will not remain in New York next season. The only questions are these: where will Melo end up, and when will he be traded? This will depend on the Knicks’ performance before the trade deadline. If Anthony is still with the Knicks this season and the team managed to perform well, New York could entice Melo to stay for the rest of the season. However, if the Knicks fare badly, there will be three options for the Knicks: waive Anthony, trade Anthony, or buyout his contract.
If Anthony is bought out or waived, Anthony can choose where he’ll play next. Given that Melo prefers the Rockets, it would be a simple negotiation and then he’ll be launching with the rest of the re-vamped Rockets, shooting for an NBA title.
Then again, the NBA landscape has changed and Melo might consider the Cavaliers. According to the New York Post, the Cavaliers can still acquire Anthony before the trade deadline. The Cavs essentially got stronger by trading Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers can provide Anthony the best way to reach the NBA Finals in the relatively weaker Eastern Conference. So while the Rockets may be the favorite to land Anthony, basketball fans should not count the Cavaliers out.
If the Knicks prefer to trade Anthony, then they are back to square one. And if both camps don’t change their stance, it’s going to be a long season for the New York Knicks.
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]