Carmelo Anthony was placed on the trading block by former New York Knicks president of basketball operations, Phil Jackson, during the regular season. The move put a strain on the Knicks organization and its' franchise player. The rift was blown up so much by the media that it practically caused the team to have to choose between Jackson and Anthony once the off-season arrived. In the end, Melo would be the last one standing, as Jackson was let go by owner James Dolan last month.

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After the team parted ways with Phil, it made sense to most folks that the team's intentions would be to keep Carmelo. However, it appears both sides mutually agree that it is time for Melo to move on and play somewhere else. Anthony has shown interest in the Cavs and the Rockets so far but reportedly has narrowed his choice down to just Houston, since Kyrie Irving requested a trade out of Cleveland.

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At this point in his career, Melo wants to go to a team that gives him the best chance at winning an NBA title.

He sees that happening if he joins forces with the newly acquired Chris Paul and all-star guard James Harden. Anthony has a close relationship on and off the court with both players and with his scoring ability combined with their talents, the Rockets would instantly become a threat to the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the eyes of many fans.

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Unfortunately, the Knicks and the Rockets haven't been able to reach a deal for the star forward and Houston reportedly doesn't have the assets New York needs to finalize an agreement.

Melo has made it clear that he will not waive his no-trade clause unless it is for the team of his choice. So, if the deal with Houston can't be made, he may have to end up playing another season in New York, which may not be such a bad thing after all.

Knicks newest off-season key additions

The most important things the Knicks planned on checking off their list this summer was selecting a future star in the NBA Draft and getting some valuable assets in return for trading Melo. As of now, they have only accomplished one of those things.

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Frank Ntilikina is expected to be a great addition at guard for the Knicks after they drafted him with the No. 8 pick. He's expected to have tremendous upside and has a strong chance at being a starter his rookie season with the departure of Derrick Rose.

They decided to give Tim Hardaway Jr. a second go-round by signing him to a four-year deal worth $71 million. The four-year guard was drafted by New York in the 2013 draft but spent the last two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks.

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He finally had a breakout year this past season when he averaged a career-high 14.5 ppg. He will be a good backcourt mate for the young Ntilikina and provides great perimeter shooting as well.

Knicks potential starting lineup if Melo stays

The potential starting lineup for the Knicks doesn't look that bad on paper if they can convince Melo to stay. Anthony averaged a team-high 22.4 ppg last season. Kristaps Porzingis avoided a sophomore slump and boosted his scoring to 18.1 ppg and added 2.0 blocks. Tim Hardaway Jr. will be bringing his 14.5 points onboard and may average more in a bigger role now with the Knicks. Willie Hernangomez had a great rookie season and will take over the starting role at center. He's shown great upside and his 8.2 ppg and 7.0 rebounds will most likely see a nice boost.

Frank Ntilikina will likely be the x-factor for New York's offense this season. He will be the youngest player in the lineup and the team will rely on his youth and energy to facilitate at a high-level. Having a star like Carmelo Anthony in his corner could help him have a more relaxed approach and relieve any early pressure of scoring. If things are handled the right way, the Knicks could very well be a playoff team this season. If so, the relationship between Melo and the Knicks will be repaired and his future with the team may become permanent until he decides to call it quits.

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