The Houston Rockets appear to be going all-in in their efforts to become the NBA’s next super-team, and now they have their sights clearly set on adding one more All-Star: Carmelo Anthony.
After the Rockets previously traded for point guard Chris Paul and on Saturday signed MVP-runner-up James Harden to the richest extension in NBA history, Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported that the Rockets have turned their “full attention” to completing a trade for Anthony.
“The Rockets have fast-tracked the Harden extension with the arrival of All-Star guard Chris Paul and are turning full attention to completing a deal with the New York Knicks to acquire eight-time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony in a trade, league sources said.”
Wojnarowski previously reported that Anthony was willing to waive his no-trade clause with the New York Knicks, but only if he were traded to the Rockets or the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, a deal with the Rockets would not be easy.
Wojnarowski reported that the Cavs are “a preferred destination” for Anthony because of LeBron James. However, the Rockets also have a disadvantage because they are already over the salary cap and Anthony is owed $US54.2 million over the next two seasons, including $US26.3 million in 2017-18 salary and an $US8.1 million “trade kicker.”
While Anthony could waive some or all of the trade kicker, if he chose not to, he would be owed $US34.4 million next season and the Rockets would be required to also give up the same amount in 2017-18 salaries in any trade.
It is not an impossible task for the Rockets. They could include players like Ryan Anderson, who has a 2017-18 salary of $US19.6 million. However, Wojnarowski also reported that the Knicks have been “reluctant” to even consider Anderson in a trade as he is owed more than $US60 million over the next three seasons.
The Rockets also do not have a first-round pick in 2018 to offer the Knicks as it was included in the recent trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for Chris Paul.
There is also the issue of Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni who previously coached Anthony with the Knicks for parts of two seasons. D’Antoni eventually resigned midway through 2011-12 season, at least in part, due to a well-publicised butting-of-heads between himself and Anthony.
It would seem that Anthony is now willing to put aside his beef with D’Antoni for a shot at a ring, but the Rockets are going to have to get creative in order to outbid the Cavs.
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