Citing league sources, ESPN reported that Anthony is open to playing for the Houston Rockets or Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Knicks are reportedly still intent on trading Anthony, even after the departure of team president Phil Jackson, who said in April he planned to move the 10-time All-Star. General manager Steve Mills is running basketball operations while the team looks for a new president.
The Rockets have emerged as a landing spot after Anthony’s friend, point guard Chris Paul, was traded there last week. Paul has said publicly he would like to play with Anthony, and the Knicks and Clippers discussed a trade for Anthony last season when Paul played for Los Angeles.
What makes Anthony’s interest in Houston surprising is that he and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, whom he played under with the Knicks from February 2011 to March 2012, had a strained relationship in New York. D’Antoni told ESPN The Magazine in May that he quit after Anthony pressed team officials to choose between him and the coach.
ESPN reported that the Knicks and Rockets discussed a trade involving Anthony last month. The Rockets offered forward Ryan Anderson, who is owed $61.3 million over the next three years, but the Knicks were reluctant, according to the report.
With James Harden and Chris Paul on the roster, the Rockets, who reached the Western Conference semifinals last season, are looking for one more piece to establish themselves as serious contenders for the NBA title. They had reportedly been targeting Paul George, but he was traded from the Pacers to the Thunder last week.
As for the Cavaliers, they clearly remain a contender who, too, could help Anthony capture an elusive championship before he retires. Cleveland also engaged in trade talks last season for Anthony, who would be able to team up with his friend, LeBron James, there.
Anthony, 33, has two years and $54 million remaining on his contract and an $8.1 trade kicker. He, however, has the option of waiving or lowering the trade kicker.
In other Knicks news, free agent point guard Derrick Rose is meeting with the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, ESPN reported. The Knicks are still hunting for their starting point guard for next season, and re-signing Rose is reportedly a “serious option.”
But, according to ESPN, the Knicks are high on Utah Jazz free agent point guard George Hill. The New York Post, however, reported that a deal is unlikely because New York lacks the needed salary-cap space.
Meanwhile, swingman Justin Holiday, whom the Knicks reportedly hoped to retain, has agreed to a two-year, $9 million contract with the Bulls, according to The Vertical.