Carmelo Anthony Traded to Bulls from Rockets; Likely to Be Released

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured Columnist

Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after scoring a three-point basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony is on the move once again.

The Chicago Bulls officially announced the trade Tuesday, with Anthony, Jon Diebler's draft rights and cash considerations going to the Houston Rockets for Tadija Dragicevic's draft rights.

ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that the Rockets would trade the 10-time All-Star to the Bulls. According to Wojnarowski, Houston waived James Nunnally to clear a roster spot for newly signed big man Kenneth Faried because the deal couldn't be made official until Tuesday. 

Diebler was drafted 51st overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2011 before his rights were dealt to Houston the following year. The 30-year-old hasn't played in the NBA and is playing for Darussafaka in the Euroleague. 

Dragicevic was the No. 53 overall pick by the Utah Jazz in 2008. His rights had been traded to the Dallas Mavericks and Bulls before Houston. He plays for Cafes Candelas Breogan in Spain's Liga ACB. 

Wojnarowski also reported Anthony "won't play a game for the Bulls" and will be released. 

Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, Anthony will have to wait 18 days after deal's official announcement before he can clear waivers and sign with a team as a free agent. That will take him past the NBA's Feb. 7 trade deadline. 

This is just the latest uniform change for Anthony, who has been an NBA nomad since leaving the Big Apple. The New York Knicks traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder in September 2017, and when the OKC experiment didn't work out, the Thunder traded him to the Atlanta Hawks in July.

The Hawks bought out Anthony shortly after acquiring him, clearing the path for him to join the Rockets as he chased a championship. He signed with Houston for the $2.4 million veteran's minimum.

Anthony's future with the Rockets quickly came into question, though. The 34-year-old averaged a career-low 13.4 points on a mediocre 40.5 percent shooting, including 32.8 percent from distance, and 5.4 rebounds in 10 games. It was the first time in his 16-year career that he came off the bench, as the 2003 No. 3 overall pick started only twice during his brief tenure in Houston.

In mid-November, Wojnarowski reported both Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D'Antoni acknowledged Anthony had done everything asked of him, but the fit just wasn't right.

In the end, the two sides came to the conclusion that it would be best to part ways.

Before he signed with Houston, Anthony also drew interest from the Miami Heat. In early November, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor said on his podcast that the Los Angeles Lakers, the Portland Trail Blazers and the New Orleans Pelicans could all be potential landing spots.

ESPN's Marc J. Spears added the Philadelphia 76ers were also a team to keep an eye on if Anthony became a free agent, but the Lakers—who have one of Anthony's close friends, LeBron James, on the roster—were not expected to make a run at him:

Wojnarowski reported Monday that the Lakers "maintain interest in Anthony, but do not want to waive a guaranteed player to create a roster spot for him." But if a roster spot opened up, the Lakers are a potential landing spot for Anthony, per Wojnarowski.

At the end of November, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported some NBA executives believe Anthony has played his final game in the NBA, per his colleague, Rachel Nichols.

Releasing Anthony after the trade is the most sensible outcome from Chicago's perspective. He has little value on a team with the fourth-worst record in the NBA (11-36).

Anthony, meanwhile, will be free to try to get his career back on track with a contending team. However, he might have limited options given how poorly he fared during his short time with the Rockets.

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