The Knicks trade talks for Carmelo Anthony are back on again — if they were ever off in the first place.
With Anthony still maintaining that he’ll only be willing to go to Houston in a deal, the Knicks reportedly re-engaged the Rockets in trade talks Thursday. Houston has started talking to other teams with the intent of pulling off a three-team deal, according to ESPN.
Anthony has a no-trade clause, and has been adamant that he wouldn’t waive it unless he is being sent to the Rockets to team with stars James Harden and Chris Paul. That process has dragged on and on, with ebbs and flows. After a brief break, it appears all three sides are back to the process.
The Knicks are trying to jump-start a youth movement, and build — or rebuild — their team around Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, their first-round draft pick. Anthony is a 10-time all-star, but he’s on the down-swing of his career and could stunt that process.
Portland was reportedly interested in Anthony, with guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum openly recruiting him; and Anthony had also expressed an openness to join LeBron James in Cleveland. But after Kyrie Irving let it be known that he wanted to leave the Cavaliers, and questions about James’ future there surfaced as well, Anthony appears to have crossed them off his short list.
Now Anthony and his camp only have eyes for Houston, where he would team with Harden and Paul in trying to challenge defending NBA champion Golden State in the Western Conference.
But that seems unlikely to happen unless the Knicks and Rockets can bring a third team to the table to take on stretch-four Ryan Anderson, or more to the point the three-years and $60 million left on his odious contract. The Nets had been a viable landing spot earlier in the summer, but used their cap space to take first DeMarre Carroll and then Allen Crabbe.
In other Knicks news, the NBA announced its opening season slate and the Knicks are scheduled to tip off Thursday, Oct. 18 against Oklahoma City at 8 p.m. on TNT.
The Knicks are coming off a 31-51 season, and could very well be worse this upcoming season if they deal Anthony. But the Thunder managed to trade for Paul George in an effort to stay relevant and give Russell Westbrook a reason to stay in Oklahoma City.
The Knicks will also play host to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Garden on Christmas Day. That tilt will be at noon on ESPN.
The Brooklyn Nets will play the Thunder on Dec. 7 in Mexico City and the Miami Heat two days later. Both are considered Nets home games.