The Houston Rockets are coming into the offseason with big plans and they can make some major moves after losing to the Blazers in the playoffs, as the team may look to trade Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin and that could clear enough space to sign Carmelo Anthony, while the Chicago Bulls also will be in the mix if they look to trade Carlos Boozer.
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The salary cap is rising this year and while the Knicks have the best shot at keeping Anthony, other teams may be able to match the deals ate least in value, as they can add more with the cap rising. The Rockets will need to clear space to make this move possible and trading Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik could enable them to do that, as they are both making a ton of money next season. The two players have expiring contracts and that is one way the team can work around making a deal and to get Anthony they will have to be creative and Daryl Morey has shown in the past he can do that.
Morey is hoping to make his own Big 3 with Dwight Howard and James Harden and if Anthony doesn't work, he could go after Kevin Love or even LeBron James this summer.
The Knicks obviously want to keep Anthony, but that is no guarantee after the way the team performed last season, although the addition of Jackson changes the equation a bit. Jackson is realistic about the Knicks and that's why he said that Anthony would likely have to take less money than a max contract to stay, as the team needs some flexibility to sign other players. Anthony said already that he would be willing to do that, but it depends on how much the Knicks are willing to give him and he now has plenty of decisions to make.
Carmelo Anthony is set to be a free agent this summer and the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls have been mentioned as potential destinations for him and names like Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Carlos Boozer could be traded to help clear space to make it happen, while both teams along with the NY Knicks will be interested in trading for Kevin Love over the summer as well.
Kevin Love will likely not get traded this summer, but the Timberwolves have some big decisions to make on him, as he is getting to Dwight Howard territory. Love is like the new version of Howard and Anthony and both of those players ended up getting traded before they hit the market and he could be next in line. According to ESPN.com, with the NBA salary cap expected to rise, the Houston Rockets could look to trade both Asik and Lin and that could generate enough cap space to make a substantial offer to Anthony.
The Chicago Bulls can trade or amnesty Carlos Boozer to give themselves cap space and they have been mentioned plenty as a destination for Anthony. The team has Joakim Noah and he reportedly has already tried to lobby Anthony to come to Chicago, as they will have Derrick Rose back next season and could be a contender with him in the fold. The Knicks are looking to hire Steve Kerr and that decision also could affect if the 29 year old decides to stay in NY for the next few years after he can opt out of his contract in the summer.
Everyone is expecting Anthony to opt out and that is his right and while the Knicks can give him the longest contract and the most money, it is not a slam dunk that he will return. Anthony missed the playoffs for the first time in his career with the Knicks this season and the team stepped back hard after winning 54 games and the division last season. Mike Woodson was fired and last season is not the way Anthony envisioned his final contract year going before the opt out.
Anthony can sign a mega deal with the Knicks, but that's not likely since they want to build around him and on top of that, even if the Bulls and Rockets can't give a max deal, the rise from $58.6 million to $63.2 million in salary cap and the rise could give the team what they need to compete in a deal. The luxury tax will rise as well and Anthony could leave for the Rockets, who have a Big 3 waiting for him with Dwight Howard and James Harden.