The New York Knicks and Houston Rockets have re-engaged on trade talks involving 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, with the Rockets again canvassing third-team trade partners to construct a deal, league sources told ESPN.
Anthony remains steadfast that he only plans to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets and refuses to expand his list to include more possible destinations, league sources said.
How a blockbuster trade could unleash ‘Team USA’ Melo
If the Knicks and Rockets reach a deal, Carmelo Anthony would instantly become the second or third option in Houston — a move that could turn him into the best version of himself.
Nevertheless, no pathway has emerged for a deal directly between the two teams, and finding a broader package to include forward Ryan Anderson and the three years and $60 million left on his contract remains problematic, league sources said.
Houston and New York made significant progress on a deal when Phil Jackson was Knicks president, but that changed with the hiring of new general manager Scott Perry, who has been far more particular about the package he’d want in return for Anthony.
The Knicks remain willing to start training camp with Anthony, 33, on the roster, and a real scenario exists in which the Rockets and Anthony remain patient that a deal could have to wait until the regular season is underway, league sources said. The Knicks want to trend younger, building around Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr., and Anthony playing a significant role could stifle their development.
Houston wants Anthony to join a lineup with James Harden and Chris Paul primarily to make a run in the playoffs together, and an in-season deal could still give them ample time to build chemistry for the postseason. Anthony and Paul are close friends.
Portland has kept an interest in Anthony, with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum continuing to recruit Anthony to consider the Blazers as an alternative to Houston, league sources said.
The Knicks have become willing again to make an Anthony deal before the start of training camp in September, especially after Anthony made it clear that the franchise’s hopes of getting him to embrace a return to the team — after months of Jackson’s pushing for Anthony to waive his no-trade — are fruitless.
The Knicks paused trade talks involving Anthony shortly after the hiring of Perry in mid-July, but they were unable to convince Anthony to reconsider his desire to be traded away — or add more teams to his wish list, league sources said.
Anthony had an earlier interest in waiving his no-trade for Cleveland, but that desire waned with Paul’s arrival in Houston and the upheaval surrounding Kyrie Irving’s and LeBron James’ futures with the Cavaliers.