So the New York Knicks are in a weird spot. At this point, they almost have to trade Carmelo Anthony. With how rumors have swirled for months and the relationship between the team and player have deteriorated, the thought of Anthony suiting up for the Knicks at any point during the 2017-18 season and beyond is ludicrous.
This is the best possible news for the Houston Rockets. With Anthony possessing a full no-trade clause, he is in full control of where he goes. Anthony has reportedly told the Knicks that he wants Houston or Cleveland, with recent reports suggesting that Anthony’s focus is 100 percent on the Rockets.
And the good news for him is that Houston is reciprocating this interest. The Rockets see an opportunity to add another All-Star to its roster, which is an increasingly big deal in the superstar-driven landscape of the Western Conference. Houston already took one step towards building around multiple superstars this summer, when it traded for Chris Paul to pair alongside James Harden and create the best backcourt in the league. Now, the opportunity to add an all-time great scorer in Anthony is available, and Houston looks like it is on the verge of building its own big three.
Having said all of this, there is a problem with any potential deal for Anthony. How, exactly, can Houston make it work so that they can take on Anthony’s massive contract (two years and about $54 million, although he can become a free agent after this season)? The Rockets, meanwhile, are way over the cap, so it’s not like they can move a few young dudes on cheap deals to bring in Anthony.
I think it’s time we start fiddling with ESPN’s Trade Machine, no? Here are the Rockets players who, for the purposes of this exercise, cannot be moved:
- PJ Tucker
- Troy Williams
- Luc Mbah a Moute
- Bobby Brown
The first two names cannot get traded because, uh, they’re James Harden and Chris Paul. The last five all signed with the team over the summer and possess restrictions on their contracts that do not let them get traded prior to Dec. 14, 2017. Seeing as how ESPN’s Chris Haynes thinks we may see Anthony moved over the weekend, that’s … well, kind of problematic.