It’s no secret at this point in the NBA offseason that Carmelo Anthony is over playing his basketball for an irradiated wasteland of an organization, the New York Knicks are equally done with Carmelo Anthony, and the Houston Rockets would like to help both parties out of their predicament by trading for Melo. However, there are several impediments to such a deal happening, especially without the help of a third and possibly fourth team to make the salary cap alchemy work.
The Rockets are already at the luxury tax threshold, thanks largely to the $61 million they owe Ryan Anderson over the next three years, and they recently emptied out their cupboard of trade assets to land Chris Paul. The Knicks would obviously need some actual return for Melo, and no matter how much Phil Jackson depressed Anthony’s trade value, Anderson’s albatross of a salary would simply be unpalatable for a team trying to build around Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks could try to work a trade with other teams besides the Rockets (say, the Blazers), but because Phil Jackson was a bad GM, Anthony has a no-trade clause and he has thus far been unwilling to waive it for teams other than the Rockets or Cavaliers.
Anthony is owed $54 million over the next two seasons, and his contract also includes an $8 million trade kicker. This makes the cap math even more complicated and means that whoever trades for him would be forced to send out $8 million more in salary. However, it seems Melo might be so dead set on leaving New York that he’d be willing to waive the trade kicker. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that Anthony would be willing to forego the $8 million in order to facilitate a possible deal.
That concession frees up a ton of room for a possible deal, and while there are still a ton of moving parts that need to lock into place before Melo leaves, it’s more likely to happen now. Of course, cap space is at a premium at the moment and few teams possess the wiggle room to acquire Anderson’s big salary. Whether it works or not, one thing is clear: Carmelo Anthony is willing to do anything to leave the Knicks.