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Reports: Rockets agree to trade Carmelo Anthony to Bulls

The Houston Rockets have agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony and cash considerations to the Chicago Bulls, according to reports from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Anthony reportedly will be waived by the Bulls and become a free agent if he clears waivers, Johnson and Wojnarowski report. Here’s more from Johnson on the trade:

The Bulls may wait to waive Anthony to see if his expiring deal can be moved for an asset before the Feb. 7 trade deadline. Either way, he won’t play for the Bulls.

The Bulls, who had an open roster spot, engineered the trade for close to $1 million in cash and to help lessen the Rockets’ luxury tax bill. It’s the second trade with the Rockets this month — Michael Carter-Williams was the other — that pocketed the Bulls money and lessened Houston’s luxury-tax bill.

Since the Bulls have to send something out via trade, the teams will also exchange the draft rights to previously acquired international players that never came to the NBA.

The Rockets signed Kenneth Faried after releasing James Nunnally on Monday afternoon.

Here’s more from Wojnarowski on Anthony’s next steps:

The Bulls will not immediately waive Anthony and could use him in a one-for-one trade before the trade deadline, sources said. For Anthony, this gives him the freedom to survey the league’s roster landscape post-trade deadline and find the best fit for him.

The Lakers have an interest in Anthony but have no plans to waive a player to create an available roster spot for him, league sources said. If a roster spot becomes available with the Lakers before or after the trade deadline, they’ll be a possible destination for Anthony, league sources said.

In the summer of 2014, the Bulls tried to woo Anthony — then a top-level free agent — to Chicago. Two giant digital images above the entrance on Madison Street showed Anthony in a Bulls No. 7 jersey dribbling next to a championship trophy. Anthony arrived at a decked-out United Center on the afternoon of July 1, 2014 with agent Leon Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau, a police SUV trailing their oversized limousine.

However, a move to Chicago never happened as Anthony opted to re-sign with the New York Knicks, his team at the time.

Anthony and the Rockets agreed to part ways in mid-November after the team’s slow start to the season. The 10-time All-Star played just 10 games for Houston after signing a one-year, $2.4 million deal during the offseason.

Anthony was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks last July before the Hawks released him to clear the way for him to sign with the Rockets.

Houston thought he could be the piece it needed to finally get past Golden State and win its first championship since back-to-back titles in 1994-95. Instead the Rockets limped out to a 6-7 start and the emergence of undrafted rookie Gary Clark made it appear that Anthony would have to take a reduced role.

In the end the Rockets decided it would be better to move on than to force Anthony to do that.

“We just had to see how things worked out,” D’Antoni said at the time. “And the way we play probably wasn’t conducive to his game and he was trying to make the necessary sacrifices and it wasn’t fair to him as a Hall of Fame player to play in a way that wasn’t good for him, wasn’t good for us. It just wasn’t a fit.”

The 34-year-old Anthony has had a tough time over the last two seasons. He averaged a career-low 16.2 points in 78 starts in a tumultuous season for the Thunder last season before coming to Houston — and accepting a reserve role for the first time in his 16-year career.

Eight of Anthony’s 10 appearances for the Rockets came off the bench after he had started all 1,054 games he’d played in his first 15 NBA seasons.

D’Antoni said he feels for Anthony that things ended this way and made it clear that it wasn’t a matter of Anthony not having the right attitude in Houston.

“In the summer we tried to hit a home run and it didn’t work out,” D’Antoni said. “He tried everything he could. He was great while he was here. It just didn’t work out for whatever reason. I just thank him for his professionalism. It was good. He tried everything he could to make it work and it just didn’t work out.”

The third overall pick in the 2003 draft has averaged 24 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists in a career that also included stints with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks.

Anthony sat out Houston’s last three games with what the team called an illness. His last appearance for Houston came in a blowout loss to Oklahoma City on Nov. 8 when he had two points and five rebounds.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.