A deal that would end the Carmelo Anthony era in New York and reunite the All Star forward with Mike D’Antoni in Houston “is at the two yard line” a person familiar with the trade negotiations told the Daily News.
On Wednesday, ESPN reported that the Knicks and Rockets are trying to recruit a fourth team into a proposed deal to facilitate a blockbuster trade. The deal needs to be expanded due to Anthony’s contract and the fact that the Knicks are opposed to acquiring Rockets forward Ryan Anderson.
The Knicks plan is to avoid adding veteran players with long term contracts.
A deal to Houston would pair Anthony with his long time friend, Chris Paul, as well as his former Olympic teammate James Harden. Late last month, Harden and Anthony attended fashion week in Paris. It was there where Harden began actively recruiting Anthony to Houston knowing that the Rockets were on the verge of acquiring Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers.
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Soon afterward, Anthony, who is under contract for two more years, informed the Knicks that he would waive his no trade clause to play for the Rockets.
Anthony would also be willing to play with LeBron James in Cleveland but as of now the two teams have not been able to come close to striking a deal.
Anthony is also concerned that LeBron may leave the Cavs next summer once LeBron becomes a free agent. It has been speculated for weeks that James is interested in signing with the Lakers.
Houston is a more stable situation. Plus, it is financially beneficial for Anthony to play in Texas, which does not have income tax.
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Cleveland would provide Anthony with a more realistic path of reaching his first NBA Finals. The road in the Western Conference is far more challenging, especially with the defending champion Golden State Warriors bringing their top eight players back.
The Rockets lost to the Spurs in the second round last May with Harden disappearing in Game 6. It was an odd ending to an MVP caliber season for Harden, who became the Rockets primary ball handler.
But the Rockets will alter the way they play with the addition of Paul. A deal for Anthony would have him playing for D’Antoni for the second time in his career. The initial partnership didn’t fare well with D’Antoni quitting because Anthony was unhappy playing for D’Antoni.
“(Carmelo and I) don’t have a bad relationship. I speak to him. He’s a good guy,” D’Antoni, who coached Anthony as an assistant with Team USA, said last year on The Vertical podcast. “But I had one vision that I wanted him to play one way. He wanted to go the other way. I couldn’t get to my way.”
A four-team trade hasn’t been completed in the NBA since 2012, when Dwight Howard went from the Magic to the Lakers in a deal that also included the Nuggets and Sixers. The complexity of such trades make them easily combustible.
All it takes is one piece to fall off and the whole thing falls apart.
In 2010, the New Jersey Nets nearly traded for Anthony in a four-team deal before it unraveled within a few days.
The Knicks goal in free agency was to get faster and more athletic. They signed Tim Hardaway Jr. and Ron Baker to a combined $ 80 million.
Although the Knicks only have about $ 1.4 million in cap space, they could theoretically create more by trading Anthony. It depends on how much guaranteed salary they take back.
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