NBA rules dictate that players can add a no-trade clause to a new contract only if they have a minimum of eight years of service time and four years with the same team.
Wade easily qualifies under those conditions after spending his entire 11-year career with the Heat, but Anthony is the beneficiary of a favorable rules interpretation to join Wade, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett in this exclusive club.
Anthony hasn't spent a full four seasons with the Knicks, but because he has finished each of the past four seasons in New York, it was ruled that Anthony qualifies to have a full no-trade clause added to his new five-year, $124 million contract with New York.
Bryant, Duncan, Nowitzki and Garnett were the only four players in the league last season to possess a full no-trade clause in their contracts.
Bryant and Nowitzki retained their respective no-trade clauses in their new deals, with the Los Angeles Lakers' star about to start a two-year, $48.5 million extension this season and Dallas' Nowitzki having finalized a new three-year, $25 million deal Tuesday.
Garnett's no-trade clause, meanwhile, carried over from Boston to Brooklyn after he waived the clause in July 2013 to allow the Celtics to deal him with Paul Pierce to the Nets in exchange for a package that included three first-round draft picks.
No-trade clauses are harder to secure in basketball than they are in other sports because they can be introduced into new contracts only. League rules preclude no-trade clauses from being added to extensions.
The star players with the leverage to negotiate a no-trade clause, furthermore, often sign lucrative extensions before they have the requisite service time. Had Wade, for example, signed an extension with the Heat in June instead of opting out, going onto the open market and then landing a new deal, he would not have been eligible to receive one.
In Major League Baseball, by comparison, players automatically earn veto power over trades through the "Ten and Five" rule, which stipulates that players with at least 10 years of service time and five in a row with the same team are granted the power of consent on trades.