Carmelo Anthony is now a member of the Thunder after a wild summer filled with trade rumors ended with a shocking twist that saw him land in Oklahoma City. Anthony joins Russell Westbrook and Paul George on a revamped OKC squad that figures to be a legitimate challenger in the West this season with one of the most formidable offensive trios in the league.
The reason Anthony’s trade to the Thunder was so stunning was his apparent insistence on making a deal happen with Houston. With his no-trade clause, Carmelo could pick his next team, and force the Knicks make a deal happen or keep him in New York. The Rockets, with James Harden and Anthony’s good buddy Chris Paul, were his team of choice for most of the summer.
Eventually, Anthony expanded his list of acceptable destinations to include Oklahoma City, and New York was able to get a deal done. However, as Anthony told SiriusXM NBA Radio, he was preparing with his camp to be back with the Knicks at media day on Friday, expecting a deal to not happen. As Melo tells it, earlier in the summer a “deal was done” with the Rockets, but fell through for mysterious reasons behind the scenes that Anthony still isn’t sure about.
“I think it was within the last week, week and a half before training camp,” Anthony said when asked about when he opened his list up. “A deal was done with Houston early. Then for some reason, whatever happened behind the scenes it didn’t go through, it didn’t fall through. Then we really had to pay attention and think about other options. Believe it or not, I felt like I was going to be back in training camp and show up at media day in New York. Me and my team sat down Friday night and was like, ‘Let’s prepare for going back to media day on Monday and training camp that week.’
Then we got the call and they said, ‘Would you open it up to OKC.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ At this point, yeah. I don’t think it would’ve been beneficial for me to come back to media day after everything that had gone on in the offseason. For me to have to deal with that it would’ve been unfair for the organization, the Knicks to deal with that. It would’ve been too much noise, too many questions to answer and I don’t think either party wanted to deal with that.”
I’m very interested to know what the terms of the deal Anthony said was “done.” We knew what the main pieces would have to be from the Knicks and Rockets end of things, with Ryan Anderson almost assuredly being the main Rockets piece due to his contract, but a third team had to be involved to make things happen. With Melo spilling the beans about said deal, maybe we’ll find out in the coming weeks what the structure was and why it fell through.
It’s also pretty incredible that it took until this past weekend for Anthony to give the Knicks his blessing to move forward with other teams, or at least with the Thunder. It’s clear both sides tried to play hardball, with New York not giving in to taking on Anderson’s contract from Houston or a bad deal otherwise and Anthony trying to push his way to Houston.
However, to Anthony’s credit, he made sure to avoid the massive distraction that his presence would have been in New York to start the season and the Knicks found a team that was willing to part ways with a reasonable amount of talent and also send Anthony to a contender. The trade has to be considered beneficial to both sides — really all three parties (Melo, Knicks, Thunder) — and moving forward there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of animosity from Anthony towards the Knicks organization.