New York Knicks: It’s plausible that Carmelo Anthony won’t be traded

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: Carmelo Anthony
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: Carmelo Anthony /

It may be time to accept that Carmelo Anthony will complete his contract with the New York Knicks. It’s due almost entirely to the no-trade clause.

In the event that a trade can’t be agreed upon, the New York Knicks are reportedly willing to reincorporate Carmelo Anthony into the rotation. It’s the result of a drawn out process that has left New York in a compromising situation.

With Anthony not owing the Knicks a longer list of trade options, and the Knicks not owing Anthony a trade, the current stalemate is creating quite the polarizing reality.

Due in large part to the no-trade clause that the organization put in Anthony’s contract, he may end up beginning the 2017-18 season in New York.

Anthony has reportedly removed the Cleveland Cavaliers from his list of preferred destinations. In turn, that list has become a chalkboard with just one organization written 100 times over in a Simpsonesque manner: The Houston Rockets.

New York has attempted to negotiate a trade with Houston, but it ultimately walked away and revealed that it’s open to keeping Anthony on the roster.

Clearly, the Knicks making it public knowledge that they’re interested in reincorporating Anthony into the system is a strategic maneuver. The front office realizes how far his trade value has fallen, and is now searching for ways to regain some measure of leverage.

True as that may be, there’s no way around the fact that New York may never get the assets it’s looking for in a trade.

If the best that Houston can offer is Ryan Anderson—and, at least until December, that’s all it can really do to make the contracts line up—then this trade won’t happen. Even if Eric Gordon were included, New York just handed a four-year deal to Tim Hardaway Jr.

Gordon and Hardaway Jr. could be an intriguing duo at the 2, namely if Courtney Lee were traded for value, but they’d be making roughly $30 million combined per season through 2020.

The same fact could be brought up about Lee and Hardaway Jr., but it’s fair to question whether it would be worth dealing Anthony just to swap Gordon in for Lee.

It’s possible that a third team will enter the discussions, but it’s hard to imagine a Western Conference organization helping this trade go through. In doing so, said franchise would be enabling Houston to build a Big Three of Anthony, James Harden, and Chris Paul.

In turn, that organization would be allowing Houston to build a paper roster that would leapfrog a vast majority of teams in the conference.

An Eastern Conference franchise could help make this happen, but therein returns the issue: Not many teams want Anderson’s contract. He has three fully guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract, worth figures of $19,578,454, $20,421,546, and $21,264,637.

Anderson is a matchup nightmare as a 6’10” power forward who happens to be one of the Top 10 3-point shooters in the NBA, but he’s also a defensive liability with a massive contract.

With the salary cap stabilizing, the contract he signed in 2016 is beginning to look like less of a fair deal and more of an overpay. Most expected the salary cap to flirt with $112 million in 2017, but instead, it was less than $99.1 million.

No teams could suffer more because of that more than the Knicks and Rockets, as the contract Houston will need to unload may be impossible to trade.

Optimism may say otherwise, but until something changes on the Anderson front, it’s hard to imagine this deal getting done. Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza would intrigue teams, but would it be worth losing two of the most valuable players on the roster to add one?

Anthony may be a star-caliber scorer, but in a conference with the Golden State Warriors, depth is paramount—and dealing Gordon and Ariza to get ‘Melo could be equally as devastating as it would be rewarding.

That’s especially true when one considers the fact that Ariza is an ace defender, and Anthony ranked amongst the worst defensive players in the NBA in 2017-18.

Must Read: Five realistic Carmelo Anthony trade proposals

Keeping Carmelo Anthony could end up being a positive, but the New York Knicks may soon have to accept the reality that trading him isn’t in the cards.