LAS VEGAS — In advance of an inevitable – if not imminent – parting, the Oklahoma City Thunder granted Carmelo Anthony permission to meet with prospective teams, including the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat, league sources told ESPN.
Anthony and his representatives met with Rockets and Heat officials at the site of the NBA Summer League in recent days, league sources told ESPN.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti and Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose of CAA Sports, have been working cooperatively to expedite a separation with the Thunder.
The Rockets meeting included coach Mike D’Antoni, who had a turbulent relationship with Anthony as New York Knicks coach. D’Antoni made it clear to Anthony that he thinks the circumstances together would be far different in Houston, and welcomed the idea of coaching Anthony again, league sources said.
The Thunder are working on trade scenarios where Anthony, 34, would be moved as an expiring contract and be waived, becoming a free agent once his $27.9 million 2017-18 salary clears waivers. Oklahoma City needs Anthony’s permission to waive his no-trade clause, which he has done to facilitate his exit, league sources said.
Anthony’s contract makes trade possibilities less likely than simply executing the NBA’s waive and stretch provision on his contract, which would save the Thunder over $100 million. That would spread his salary cap hit equally at $9.3 million over three years.
The Rockets lost forward Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency, clearing the way for a greater opportunity to impact the Rockets. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra has been a strong advocate of signing Anthony, who could play a major role for the Heat at power forward.