According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski during a SportsCenter appearance Tuesday morning, Anthony “has made it clear to [the Knicks]: I want to go to Houston, I am not interested in talking to you about being reincorporated back into this New York roster.”
The Knicks are in complete rebuild mode, but management does not know if it can make a sensible deal to send Anthony to the Rockets. Sources told The Post Anthony’s camp is pushing hard for a Rockets’ trade.
A source also told The Post the Rockets are undeterred by the franchise being put up for sale Monday and will continue their pursuit of uniting Anthony with his buddies Chris Paul and James Harden. Anthony has $56 million left on his pact, but with an opt out after the season.
Mills and Perry want to meet with Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, to gauge his temperature and see if he’d be willing to expand his wish list beyond the Rockets and Cavaliers. Suggestions the Knicks are trying to convince Anthony to remain a Knick are exaggerated as they try to focus on, as Mills said Monday, “youth, athleticism and defense.’’
There was no indication if Anthony is willing to expand his list, meaning this latest Melodrama could drag on. The Blazers and Suns are said to have some interest in getting involved in a bid for Anthony.
It was also reported the Rockets are prepared that “these negotiations with the Knicks could run through August, September, into possibly the start of training camp as New York tries to rebuild Melo’s value.”
Despite his no-trade clause, Anthony doesn’t have much leverage. If he holds out of training camp, it would cost him only money. The Knicks no longer are in win-now mode, so they’d be prepared to play Tim Hardaway Jr. at shooting guard and Courtney Lee at Anthony’s small-forward spot.
On Monday, Mills, in contrast to Phil Jackson’s mantra, said, “I think we will be a good developing team if Carmelo is part of the team. We’ll be a good developing team if he isn’t. We’ll be in constant communication with Carmelo and his camp, and we’ll come to some resolution that works well for both us.”
Mills added there was “no set timeline for this’’ and the club would not consider buying him out. It is believed Jackson’s final wish was to buy out Anthony in a move he considered addition by subtraction. Using a stretch provision in the buyout would have gained the Knicks $15 million of cap space this summer, but also would’ve had Anthony’s salary taking up cap space for five years.