Houston, Texas, USA: Carmelo Anthony plans to sign with the Houston Rockets for $2.4 million veterans minimum salary once he clears waivers in the coming days, according to multiple reports.
Carmelo Anthony is unlikely to become a free agent before next week at the earliest because his pending trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks could take several days before it is officially completed.
But the three-way deal that also features the Philadelphia 76ers has been agreed to and is expected to be executed after Philadelphia 76ers makes another roster move. The sharpshooter Kyle Korver of the Cleveland Cavaliers is among the players Philadelphia 76ers is known to be pursuing via trade before completing the three-way deal with Oklahoma City and Atlanta.
The Carmelo Anthony trade calls for the Oklahoma City Thunder to send the high-scoring former All-Star and a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for the guard Dennis Schroder. The transaction also calls for the 76ers to end up with Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Muscala and send out two players: Justin Anderson to Atlanta and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot to Oklahoma City.
The Atlanta Hawks have pledged to release Anthony once the trade is complete, according to the people. That will allow him to earn $27.9 million salary next season — as stipulated by the original five-year contract he signed with the Knicks in the summer of 2014 — and then sign with Houston upon clearing waivers. He is expected to receive a one-year deal from the Rockets at the league’s veteran minimum salary of $2.4 million.
Anthony will clear waivers 48 hours after Atlanta formally lets him go, enabling him to then sign with the team of his choice. Rockets officials have been operating under the strong belief that Anthony will soon be Houston-bound since meeting with him face-to-face during summer-league play in Las Vegas this month.
Rockets had emerged as the unquestioned front-runner to sign Carmelo Anthony once he becomes a free agent.
Houston has been pursuing Anthony since last summer, when the Rockets acquired his good friend Chris Paul in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. A year later, Houston’s need for frontcourt reinforcements is even more pronounced after the departures of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency.
The Rockets’ star guard James Harden, at a community appearance Friday said that Carmelo Anthony would be “a great acquisition for us.”
“Melo’s a proven vet,” Harden added. “He just wants to win at this point, so it would be great for him to be on our team.”
After its one-year experiment with Carmelo Anthony did not pan out as hoped, Oklahoma City is projected to save nearly $75 million in luxury-tax payments by shipping out Carmelo Anthony and bringing in Dennis Schroder to serve as an understudy and occasional backcourt sidekick to the All-Star Russell Westbrook.
Joining the Houston Rockets will reunite Anthony, 34, with Houston Coach Mike D’Antoni after the pair struggled badly to mesh in New York, which ultimately led to Mike D’Antoni’s resignation as Knicks coach. But the parties are committed to trying to forge a more successful partnership this time, with Chris Paul’s presence believed to be crucial.