A third team is needed to bring Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets. According to Ian Begley of ESPN, the Knicks may ask for additional draft picks or younger players in return for Anthony, which the Rockets currently don’t have because they unloaded some of their young players and protected first-round picks to the Los Angeles Clippers for Chris Paul.

Anthony is willing to waive his no-trade clause if he’s shipped to the Rockets. The Knicks earlier intensified their trade talks with the Rockets after acquiring Tim Hardaway Jr.

Earlier, the Rockets offered Ryan Anderson for Anthony but the Knicks rejected it as they don’t want to be saddled by Anderson’s remaining three years and $61.2 million contract with Houston.

Begley said the two sides are “nowhere near the finish line” because a direct trade will not work and there’s a need for a third team to consummate the deal. There is a possibility that the third team could take in Anderson, giving the Rockets the space for Anthony and his contract.

Anthony optimistic about going to Rockets

According to his sources, Begley noted that Anthony is optimistic that he will be moved to the Rockets, who are aiming to form their own version of a “Big 3” with James Harden and Paul.

The Rockets recently acquired Paul for Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker and a top-3 protected 2018 first-round pick. The 32-year-old Paul and Anthony have been planning to play together at some point in their career and they are both hoping that it could happen with the Rockets.

Last season, Paul averaged 18.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 9.2 assists in 61 games last season for the Clippers.

A 10-time All-Star, Anthony averaged 22.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season. During his 13-year tenure with the Knicks, he averaged a solid 24.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Hardaway, Nene tussle for Anthony

In a press conference, Hardaway said he wants Anthony to remain with the Knicks. Hardaway became close with Anthony when he was drafted 24th overall by the Knicks in 2013.

After two years with the Knicks, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Jerian Grant. Rockets center Nene, for his part, edited photo of Anthony wearing a Rockets No. 15 uniform in his Instagram account with a caption “he will look great on this uniform." He later deleted the photo that fueled rumors that Anthony may be headed to Houston soon.