ORLANDO, Fla. — Carmelo Anthony has been training hard this offseason, as a video recently was posted of him running on a soccer field at 2 a.m. Perhaps he is getting in shape for his next team.
According to an ESPN report, Anthony is open to waiving his no-trade clause to play for Houston or Cleveland. But either team would have to put together a trade that would be appealing to the Knicks.
Even though the Knicks parted ways with Phil Jackson, who was in favor of getting Anthony off the roster at all costs, the team still plans to move forward without Anthony.
When he was asked about it a few days ago, coach Jeff Hornacek wouldn’t say he wanted Anthony back on the team in 2017-18. Hornacek also has been pumping up Kristaps Porzingis, saying he believes he’s ready to be the focal point of the offense.
Hornacek left Monday’s summer league game without speaking to the media and general manager Steve Mills wouldn’t comment on anything.
Houston has emerged as a landing spot for Anthony after acquiring his good friend Chris Paul last week. Cleveland always has been a possible destination for Anthony because of his relationship with LeBron James.
Anthony also wants to remain close to his son Kiyan, 10, who is in New York with Anthony’s estranged wife, La La. In several recent appearances on talk shows and radio shows, she made it sound as if he will be with a new team next season.
“That is a real possibility,” La La Anthony said Sunday night on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.” “My hope is he ends up somewhere where he’s happy and he can win, because he’s such an incredible player. He deserves to win.”
Having acquired Paul to play with MVP runner-up James Harden, the Rockets are putting together a team that could contend in the Western Conference. The Cavaliers have been to three straight NBA Finals.
Other teams that have been linked to Anthony include the Celtics, Wizards and Raptors because of their proximity to New York. But it’s unclear whether Anthony would approve a trade to those teams.
The Celtics could get involved in Anthony talks if they don’t reel in their top free-agent target, Gordon Hayward, who is deciding between returning to Utah or signing with Boston or Miami.
Anthony has always wanted to play with Paul and James. He was long rumored to be heading to the Clippers when Paul played for them. Last season, the Knicks had conversations with the Cavaliers and Clippers about a trade for Anthony, but those talks never really got serious.
It’s interesting that Anthony would approve a move to Houston or that the Rockets would pursue him, considering their coach is Mike D’Antoni. The two didn’t have a good working relationship when D’Antoni coached the Knicks. D’Antoni ultimately resigned amid reports that Anthony wanted him out. The two clashed over D’Antoni’s offense.
The Rockets have been very busy this offseason, acquiring players with short deals or non-guaranteed ones for future trades. They were said to be doing it for Paul George, but now that he has been dealt to Oklahoma City, Anthony appears to be their target.
ESPN also reported that the Rockets and Knicks spoke last month about Anthony, with Houston offering Ryan Anderson as the centerpiece. But Anderson is owed roughly $61.3 million over the next three seasons.
Given that they appear to be rebuilding, the Knicks might not want to add big or long-term salaries right now. They’re going with a youth movement centered around Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Frank Ntilikina and Ron Baker.
They’re also in a little bit of a holding pattern for various reasons.
The Knicks are searching for a replacement for Jackson. They haven’t been very active in free agency. Their lone agreement reached at this point has been to bring back Baker on a two-year deal.
Mills is running the basketball department right now. He could very well fill Jackson’s vacant post, with the Knicks hiring someone to be general manager. They reportedly have spoken to former Cavs GM David Griffin and could formally interview him later this month.
NBA TV cameras caught what appeared to be Mills and other Knicks officials laughing while watching the video of Anthony training Sunday. Mills declined to comment on it Monday, as did Jackson’s only front-office hire, Clarence Gaines, who cursed at a reporter.
With Anthony wanting to go only to select teams, it might be difficult for the Knicks to get a significant haul for their best player. Anthony also has an $8.1-million trade kicker in his contract.
Jackson reportedly wanted to buy out Anthony and the final two years and $54 million on his contract, but the Knicks prefer to trade Anthony and get something in return.