We know the Houston Rockets have turned their attentions to a Carmelo Anthony trade following James Harden’s extension. What we don’t know is how long it’ll take to land him, or whether they’ll get him at all.
Anthony, for his part, believes a deal will get done. As ESPN.com’s Ian Begley noted while doing a SportsCenter hit, the eight-time All-Star expects, it seems, to begin next season in Houston (via Clutch Points):
“I’m told that Carmelo feels pretty confident at this point that a deal will get worked out to Houston but the teams to date are nowhere near the finish because it’s so tough for the Knicks and Rockets to get a deal together one-to-one. So it looks like there is going to have to be a third team involved. Probably Ryan Anderson is going to have to be moved on to that third team for this deal to happen.”
As we’ve discussed ad nauseam by this point, everything hinges on the Rockets rerouting Ryan Anderson to a third party. The Knicks have no business sucking up the final three years and $61.3 million left on the 29-year-old’s contract—not when they’re apparently committed to fielding a 25-and-under squad headlined by Kristaps Porzingis…and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Who might that third party be? It’s tough to say.
The Brooklyn Nets are always willing to be a salary-dumping ground and have cap space to make things work, but they’ve already taken on DeMarre Carroll and Timofey Mozgov. Adding Anderson’s contract to the mix might be overkill, particularly when Sean Kilpatrick and Jeremy Lin (player option) are ticketed for free agency next summer.
The Phoenix Suns are legitimate option, since they’re pivoting out of their attempts remain competitive, but the Rockets will no doubt have to send first-round compensation their way. And that means the Knicks must be open to acquiring merely salary-cap relief in exchange for Anthony’s services. They’ll probably be ready to sell that low this late in the game, but then again, if that was the case, a deal might already be done.
And thus, we stay where we’ve been for months: in wait-and-see mode.