As the yearlong power struggle between franchise and player rages on in New York, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is reportedly willing to make yet another contractual concession in order to facilitate a trade to one of the two contending teams that feature his bestest Banana Boat buds.
The 10-time All-Star’s cumbersome contract, which also includes a no-trade clause that he is reportedly willing to waive in order to join Chris Paul on the Rockets or LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, features a 15 percent pay increase if he is traded. Melo is due $54,171,900 from the Knicks over the next two years, but because he possesses an early-termination option in 2018, the entirety of that kicker would be applied to his salary this season, pushing his pay to a near-max $34,369,545.
The Knicks are responsible for paying that $8 million, and any team trading for his services would have to match Anthony’s increased salary up to $27,595,636 in outgoing contracts. The Rockets would “only” have to send $21,095,008 in salary to the Knicks or a third party if he waives the kicker. For Houston, that might mean the difference between trading Ryan Anderson and a couple small non-guaranteed contracts and parting ways with another rotational player in addition to Anderson.
Following news of his no-trade concession, this may be another ploy to help pave his road out of New York, but it’s no small concession on Anthony’s part. He wants out, and this further cements that fact.
Still, there’s no reason for the Knicks to assume the three years and $61 million left on Anderson’s contract, and finding a third team to take on a salary dump hasn’t been easy, either. So, the Knicks’ new brass — president of basketball operations Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry — said publicly they are comfortable keeping Anthony on the roster until a better trade presents itself.
That might also have been a ploy to get Anthony to make further concessions, and while waiving the kicker is a step, there is still plenty of negotiating room left between the two sides. Melo could give up so much money in buyout talks that the Knicks would have to consider parting ways for nothing in return but the salary cap relief, which seems unlikely, or he could include more teams on his list of potential trade destinations — like the Portland Trail Blazers, who seem increasingly interested in him.
The irony of all this is that the man who gave Anthony all that power, ex-president of basketball ops Phil Jackson, is the same person who destroyed both the team’s relationship with the 33-year-old and his value on the trade market, spending an entire season telling anyone who would listen he would be better off elsewhere because he’s a ball-stopper who lacks the will to win. Which is quite something.
Now, as the Knicks rebuild around young foreign-born studs Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez and Frank Ntilikina — the fruits of Jackson’s labor — they are trying to undo everything else the former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach did to undermine Anthony. And Melo is still not having it, at least not to the degree the new brass would like, so the stalemate continues, trade kicker or not.
More from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –