What’s next for the Houston Rockets after trading for Chris Paul and signing James Harden to a four-year, $170 million extension?
If they have their way, a Carmelo Anthony trade, according to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst:
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.
Dealing for Anthony, as we’ve noted many times before, is no easy task. Incorporating his $26.2 million salary, which will spike further if he doesn’t waive his trade kicker, demands the Rockets ship out the final three years remaining on Ryan Anderson’s four-year, $80 million.
Though the New York Knicks don’t abide conventional logic, they have no business taking on that contract. By their own admission, they want to get younger and more athletic. Acquiring the longer-term deal of a 29-year-old doesn’t fit that bill.
The Rockets can always find a third team to facilitate a trade, but no squad, at this point, is likely to absorb Anderson without first-round compensation. And if Houston is sending picks with Anderson to another team, New York will have to settle for purely cap relief in any return for Anthony.
Do these roadblocks mean it’s likely Anthony begins the season with the Knicks? It’s tough to say. The Knicks clearly want him gone, otherwise they wouldn’t have even considered signing another wing in Tim Hardaway Jr. But the obstacles involved do make it difficult to strike a deal with Houston or any other Melo-approved squad that makes sense for them, so there’s at least a chance this saga leaks into the regular season.