New York Knick fans breathed a huge sigh of relief after the trade deadline passed and Carmelo Anthony was still donning orange and blue.
But the deadline was just the start of speculation that will continue for the next four months as Anthony decides whether to stick it out with the cap-strapped and talent-limited Knicks, or bolt for a better managed team.
According to the New York Post, the Houston Rockets have joined the list of teams that will reportedly chase the 29-year-old scorer this summer when he’s expected to opt-out of his current contract and test free agency. Both the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers have been rumored destinations, with each representing a comparable big market with enough cap space to sign Anthony.
The Post’s report specifies that while the Rockets won’t have enough salary cap space to sign Anthony to a long-term deal, they are instead angling for a sign-and-trade.
Houston reportedly inquired about Anthony before the trade deadline last month, however the Knicks have steadfastly maintained their intentions to keep and re-sign the superstar.
The Rockets could get under the cap by dealing point guard Jeremy Lin and center Omer Asik, and both could be part of a larger deal that brings Anthony to Houston to team up with center Dwight Howard and shooting guard James Harden.
Both Lin and Asik are scheduled to make $15 million next season, and New York could take both players expiring deals back along with much-needed draft picks.
The inflated contracts of forward Amar’e Stoudemire and center Andrea Bargnani have severely limited moves the Knicks can make to pair Anthony with another star, and New York won’t have any real space until both contracts, and Tyson Chandler’s, expire in 2015.
Though it hasn’t been confirmed yet, The Knicks are waiting to officially announce 11-time championship coach Phil Jackson as the team’s next president, and its currently unknown if he would amenable to dealing Anthony. It’s far more likely the Knicks are bringing in the Zen master to convince Anthony to stay.
Reports indicate Jackson will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday.