Carmelo Anthony will finally secure his escape from the Houston Rockets on Tuesday when the Rockets complete a trade that sends the former All-Star to the Chicago Bulls, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The Bulls have no intention of playing Anthony but could elect to keep him until the Feb. 7 trade deadline and use him in another potential deal, according to the person, who was not authorized to discuss the trade publicly.
The trade with Chicago, which is also expected to include some minor draft compensation, could not be executed Monday because the league office was closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But the Rockets, as first reported by ESPN, offered an undisclosed amount of cash to persuade the Bulls to take on the remainder of Anthony’s $2.4 million salary for this season, which will result in a luxury-tax savings of $2.6 million for Houston.
Anthony, 34, has been in search of a new team since Nov. 11, when The New York Times first reported that the former New York Knick’s time with the Rockets was coming to an end after just 10 games together.
Houston formally announced on Nov. 15 that the sides were “parting ways” but has kept Anthony on the roster for the past two months in hopes of trading him rather than outright releasing him, thus avoiding the luxury-tax hit.
Whether Anthony stays on Chicago’s roster until Feb. 7 or becomes a free agent sooner than that, his challenge remains finding a team willing to give him another shot after failed stints with Houston and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Concerns about Anthony’s defense and his ability to shed his ball-dominant ways of the past and adapt to a catch-and-shoot role have resulted in scant interest in him despite his accomplished résumé.
The Times reported last month that the Los Angeles Lakers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Charlotte Hornets are among the teams that have weighed but ultimately resisted pursuing Anthony since the Rockets sent him away from the team.
The Rockets spent the weekend trying to find a new home for Anthony via trade to create a roster spot for veteran big man Kenneth Faried, who signed with Houston on Monday after securing a contract buyout from the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.
Trades can happen on weekends and holidays, but only if the league office is given notice that a deal is in the works by 6 p.m. on the most recent business day. As a result, Houston was forced to release the swingman James Nunnally to create the roster room to add Faried.
The Rockets are hoping Faried can help fill the void created by a thumb injury to starting center Clint Capela, who is expected to be sidelined for at least a month after undergoing surgery last week.