Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images
The Deal: The New York Knicks sign and trade Carmelo Anthony to the Houston Rockets for Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, Terrence Jones, Troy Daniels and Houston's 2015 first-round pick.
Carmelo Anthony's free agency isn't as cut-and-dried as you might expect. Some of the most attractive suitors, like the Rockets and Chicago Bulls, would have to make some prior moves before being able to sign Anthony outright, so long as he wants a max deal.
Here's Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports with more:
Anthony has free-agent options, and two have risen above everything else: Chicago and Houston, sources with direct knowledge of his plans told Yahoo Sports. The Bulls have an easier path to clear the necessary salary-cap space to sign Anthony, but the Rockets believe they can shed the contracts necessary to offer a third near-max deals alongside Dwight Howard and James Harden, league sources said.
"He'll give New York every option," one source with knowledge of Anthony's plans told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday. "But he has options – and he's going to explore them all.
While the Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey showed they're willing to do that last year when they signed Dwight Howard, it may be easier to negotiate a sign-and-trade deal with New York instead.
If Anthony makes it clear to New York that he's not re-signing there, you would think the Knicks would refrain from calling his bluff and would agree to get assets in return as opposed to just losing him outright. The benefit for New York in dealing with Houston is that a big-ticket player like Jeremy Lin will be coming back, which will take at least some of the sting out of losing Anthony.
All things considered, this would be a decent haul for New York given the circumstances. Terrence Jones has a ton of potential and is still cheap, and Troy Daniels looks like he could be one of the league's next best shooters.
Is it a fair return? Of course not, but again, it's better than nothing. Anthony joining James Harden and Dwight Howard in Houston would set them up to be the league's next great dynasty, even if there would certainly be some kinks to work out on both ends. Still, this would be one of the most talented teams we'd ever see, which would certainly rock the NBA.
The league would lose one of its biggest stars in its biggest market, but the Knicks would be perfectly established to be a major player in the 2015 offseason with virtually no contracts on the books and a clean slate to work with.