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NBA trade rumors: Carmelo Anthony to the Rockets is getting closer to reality

Carmelo Anthony is finally willing to move on from the Knicks after seven seasons

NBA: Miami Heat at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After sticking it out for years in New York, it seems Carmelo Anthony is finally open to making his home elsewhere. Anthony is prepared to waive his no-trade clause if it means playing with Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley.

Anthony and the Knicks are both confident, according to Begley’s report, a deal will get done in the future sending him to Houston. After signing Tim Hardaway, Jr. to a 4-year, $71 million deal, the Knicks are moving forward with plans of building toward a future without Anthony.

On the Anthony front, the Knicks and Anthony feel good about the possibility of completing a deal that sends him out of New York, according to sources. The Knicks and Rockets have talked about an Anthony trade recently, with (Adrian) Wojnarowski reporting that “the Rockets have been persistent in their pursuit of Anthony, who is willing to waive his no-trade clause to join Paul and Harden in Houston and the Knicks do not imagine a scenario where Hardaway is sharing the floor with Anthony to start the season.”

It appears as close to a sure thing as we’ve seen with Melo to this point. We even had Nene making (and deleting) Instagram posts with Anthony photoshopped in full Rockets gear.

This is real. It’s probably in the works right now. Anthony’s window in New York is closed, and it’s seems he’s ready to move on if it means competing.

Anthony averaged 22.4 points with 5.9 rebounds per game last season. He also put up the second lowest player efficiency rating of his career at 17.9 — the worst since his rookie season.

Why a trade to the Rockets makes sense for Anthony

It’s time to start anew for Anthony. He hasn’t been to a Conference Finals since 2009 and hasn’t really come close despite playing in a weak Eastern Conference. He’s only won more than 50 games once since coming to New York and that 2013 season feels like a lifetime ago now.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Banana Boat crew has flourished. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have rings. Paul has played on a contender for the last five seasons and will do so next season in Houston. It’s time for Anthony to get in on the fun, and that means waiving his no-trade clause.

In terms of a basketball fit, things may get a bit wonky. Paul and Harden both use a high percentage of possessions on offense. So does Anthony, and you know how the old cliche goes: “There’s only one basketball to go around.”

They should figure it out. They’re all great players and have all been through the ringer enough to see that the way they’ve been playing doesn’t work. There will be lots of sacrifice, but it could be worth it if they can make it to the Conference Finals and for a shot at the Golden State Warriors.

Why the trade may not make sense for either side

Mike D’Antoni and Anthony aren’t the best of friends. In fact, D’Antoni admitted Anthony is the reason he is no longer with the New York Knicks. A trade to Houston means Anthony would have to commit to playing in that same system, and if it didn’t work out for them once it might not work out the next go round either.

Plus, Anthony isn’t a great defender. He never has been. It’s hard to imagine Houston as a great defensive team with Anthony and Harden on the floor together. They won’t have a defensive stopper who can match up with the top wings in the conference. They’ll have to outscore opponents every night without stops, which is possible but difficult.

The team’s depth will suffer to make the trade work. Some combination of Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and Clint Capela will likely have to be included in the deal with Capela being the most untouchable player in any deal.

Anthony isn’t the same star player he used to be, but his $26 million salary makes it difficult to keep key players on the roster. Whether he’s worth that still remains to be seen.

Chances Anthony starts the season with the Rockets: 8/10

Anthony is ready to move on and the Rockets are ready to take him. Daryl Morey is in the business of acquiring talent and figuring out how it fits later. If Anthony is on the market, he’ll be aggressive in his pursuit.

Plus, it seems Anthony is finally willing to move on. Whatever went down between him and D’Antoni is under the bridge and down the river at this point. Things will work out. This trade appears to be happening, it’s just a question of when rather than if.