If the latest rumors are correct, the New York Knicks are closing in on a trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Houston Rockets. According to ESPN, the two teams are working on scenarios that would include two other teams, and The New York Daily News said a potential deal is “at the two-yard line.”
That still leaves several questions regarding the possible blockbuster four-team trade. What are the other two teams that would be involved? What players would the Knicks receive in return for trading away their best player since Patrick Ewing?
One thing appears to be certain: the Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer in trade talks with the Knicks.
Cleveland once looked like the most likely destination for Anthony. He’s had designs of playing alongside LeBron James, and with his no-trade clause, Anthony can dictate which teams are able to trade for him. There have even been rumors in each of the last two seasons that Anthony could be traded to the Cavaliers.
The Cavs made several attempts this offseason to acquire another superstar, hoping a shakeup to their roster might allow them to compete with the Golden State Warriors. With Kevin Love as the centerpiece, Cleveland was unable to land either Paul George or Jimmy Butler. Cleveland is reportedly unwilling to do a Love-for-Anthony swap, and they don’t have the draft picks or young players that New York hopes to get in exchange for Anthony.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a fourth team will have to be added in order to move the contract of a player that neither Houston or New York wants. It’s unknown who that player might be, though the contracts of others players have made executing a deal difficult.
The Rockets would like to unload Ryan Anderson, who is owed more than $61 million over the next three years. New York is unwilling to accept the contract of the 29-year-old, even though doing so would help facilitate a trade because of the salary cap rules. If another team is willing to take Anderson off Houston’s hands, they might demand a first-round draft pick, as well.
It’s been suggested that the Portland Trail Blazers might make sense as a potential landing spot for Anderson. Despite being overpaid, Anderson is an elite three-point shooter that could help Portland. The Blazers also have younger players that the Knicks might be interested in acquiring.
With so many moving parts, even if a deal is going to happen, it might take some time for all the details to be worked out.
Anthony might not have been willing to accept a trade to the Rockets a month ago, but that all changed when the team acquired Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite having a previously tumultuous relationship with head coach Mike D’Antoni, Anthony is looking to play with Paul and James Harden, potentially forming the biggest threat to the Warriors in the West.
After adding Paul, Houston is still considered to be the third-best team in the conference.