<
>

Rockets still Anthony's top priority, making an Irving-to-Knicks trade a long shot

play
New Knicks GM not conceding a Melo trade (1:52)

Knicks GM Scott Perry joins SC6 and, while he won't divulge the last time he spoke to Carmelo Anthony, insists the sides remain in communication. (1:52)

Kyrie Irving informed the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this month that the New York Knicks were one of the teams he would be willing to join. But it seems unlikely at this point that Irving will land in New York.

Here's why: Carmelo Anthony's top destination in any trade, per league sources, is the Houston Rockets. Nothing really has changed since ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported more than a week ago that Anthony still expected the Knicks to carry out their previous plan to trade him to Houston.

Now things can evolve quickly in the NBA. Anthony can shift his thinking on his no-trade clause and where he would like to end up at any time. But as of Tuesday night, landing in Houston remained his top priority over all other potential destinations, including the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This is significant, because the best offer the Knicks can make in a trade for Irving is a package centered around Anthony. As was reported on Saturday, New York is not interested at this point in including Kristaps Porzingis in any trade for Irving. Some in the Knicks organization would trade Anthony and multiple first-round picks for Irving (though there is not uniform agreement on the idea of dealing multiple first-round picks in any trade at the moment, according to people familiar with the Knicks' thinking).

All of this is, of course, meaningless until one of two things happen:

1. The Knicks decide to include Porzingis in a deal for Irving (unlikely).

2. Anthony decides to move on from the possibility of being traded to Houston and strongly considers playing for a Cavs team without Irving. As of late Tuesday, he wasn't prepared to do that.

It also seems unlikely that the Knicks have the strongest package to offer for Irving. Cleveland is looking for a significant return, something the Knicks either can't or aren't willing (in the case of Porzingis) to offer.

What is clear is that the Knicks, under president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry, are committed to holding out for the best possible deal they can get from the Rockets or any other team. That seems like a sound approach. Can Houston come up with an offer that satisfies the Knicks? We'll see.

Longstaff hired by Atlanta: Former Knicks assistant coach Josh Longstaff has been hired by the Atlanta Hawks as head coach of the organization's G League team, the Erie BayHawks. The Knicks decided against renewing Longstaff's contract in late June.

The assistant played a significant role in the Knicks' player development program and was a favorite of Porzingis. Mills has said that player development is an important part of the Knicks' plan going forward, as they are committed to bringing in younger players around the core of Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Tim Hardaway Jr. and first-round draft pick Frank Ntilikina. How the club proceeds with its player development program going forward -- and without Longstaff -- will be worth watching.

Dotson's deal: Second-round pick Damyean Dotson has agreed to a three-year deal with the Knicks, as was reported on Saturday. The first two years of the contract are guaranteed. The amount of the deal is unknown, but it likely will take up most of the Knicks' remaining $1.4 million in cap space. If that's the case, New York will only have veteran's minimum exceptions left to spend on free agents. The club still hopes to add a veteran point guard. Doing so in a trade for Anthony seems to be the best route.