Carmelo Anthony reportedly now only wants to be traded to the Houston Rockets – Washington Post

Carmelo Anthony wants to be traded from the New York Knicks. For their part, the Knicks would like to accommodate his wish.

Just one problem: Anthony has a no-trade clause, and he just narrowed his list of acceptable destinations from Cleveland and Houston to only the latter.

That’s according to the New York Post’s Marc Berman, who reported Tuesday that “sources indicate Anthony only wishes to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Rockets.” Berman added, “Not even Cleveland, which is in turmoil, is good enough for Anthony as the Cavaliers are dealing with Kyrie Irving’s trade demand.”

Some Knicks fans had likely been hoping that, given Irving’s reported inclusion of the Knicks on a list of four preferred destinations, New York and Cleveland could work out some sort of deal that would have had the Cavs guard and Anthony switching squads. However, the veteran forward isn’t going anywhere without his assent, and despite his long-standing friendship with LeBron James, he could be spooked by Cleveland’s turbulent offseason.

In Houston, Anthony would be linking up with another of his pals, Chris Paul, and he’s also reportedly on good terms with James Harden. The Rockets are among the few NBA teams that seem eager to load up for an immediate shot at dethroning the Warriors, but they have had trouble making a compelling offer to New York.

Despite persistent rumors that a Knicks-Rockets trade was all but finalized, New York appears to be holding out for a better deal, amid reports that it is balking at taking back the contract of forward Ryan Anderson, who is set to earn $61.1 million over the next three seasons. Anthony’s contract has two more years and $54 million left on it, although he can opt out next summer.

Houston would presumably be packaging a few more assets, such as draft picks, with Anderson, but it does seem reasonable that New York would prefer not to trade a disgruntled star for a lesser player on a worse contract. Other teams the Rockets have hoped could help them net Anthony in a three-way deal have also reportedly said no to Anderson.

New York is clearly hoping to convince Anthony to expand his list of acceptable destinations, and players such as the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have openly tried to recruit him. While Anthony has enormous leverage in his no-trade clause, the Knicks can also point out that if they don’t like what they’re being offered for him, they can simply hold onto him, possibly bringing him off the bench as they turn their starting lineup over to younger players.

It may come down to a contest between Anthony and his team of six-plus years to see who blinks first, as the NBA offseason moves closer to its end in September. As Berman noted, Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey recently had to release one of the players whose non-guaranteed contracts could potentially help balance salaries in an Anthony trade, underscoring the fact that the standoff has consequences for all sides.

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Carmelo Anthony reportedly now only wants to be traded to the Houston Rockets – Washington Post