Even if he’s not a free agent, Carmelo Anthony’s name has been dragged all over the sporting news after his squabble with then Knicks president Phil Jackson. Since then, he has been the target of so many trade rumors, even after Jackson was removed from his office.

There were initial rumors he’s to join LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Kevin Love supposedly going to New York, but the gossip quickly vanished into thin air. Melo was also rumored to form the Oklahoma City Thunder’s super team along with 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

Again, the story was proven to be just chitchats.

For Melo to waive his no-trade clause, he wanted to be traded to the Houston Rockets and play with James Harden and one of his best buddies, Chris Paul. Yet, with C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard tirelessly recruiting the ten-time All-Star, will there be a chance he would expand his choices to include the Portland Trail Blazers?

Houston, we have a problem

The New York Knicks are ready to move on with or without Carmelo Anthony, said new Knicks team president Steve Mills. But he ruled out any move to buyout Melo’s remaining contract of two years, amounting to about $54 million. The best way for Melo to exit is via trade, and his only preference is the Houston Rockets.

But the Knicks won’t accept forward Ryan Anderson, who still has three years and worth $60 million left on his contract. The Knicks plan to center their rebuilding plan on Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr., and clearing their payroll at the soonest possible time is their foremost goal.

The surest thing to complete the deal is to include Trevor Ariza who only has one year left on his contract, plus future draft picks.

The problem is -- the Houston Rockets don’t have any enticing future draft picks to include in the package aside from the least favorable pick via Memphis next year (from Charlotte Hornets or Miami Heat).

Knockin’ on Melo’s door

The duo of McCollum and Lillard knocking on Melo’s doorsteps could be working magic according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

In fact, McCollum was recently seen playing 3-on-3 pick-up game alongside Anthony. McCollum and Anthony have the same trainer, Chris Brickley.

“That’s a sleeper team in this to get Carmelo to waive his no-trade because I’m told they’ve piqued Carmelo’s interest at the very least,” Woj said. The name of the 24-year old Maurice Harkless surfaced as the asset to send Melo to Portland.

Harkless remains in contact with new Knicks general manager Scott Perry. Perry served as the assistant general manager of the Orlando Magic during which time Harkless started his NBA career in Orlando. The 24-year old small forward’s remaining three-year contract worth $31 million is seen more favorable for the rebuilding Knicks.