If you recall, Carmelo Anthony’s trade destination was one of the hottest topics of the NBA offseason. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months before the New York Knicks finally decided to trade him and start fresh.
Melo eventually ended up as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George, but had been connected to the Houston Rockets for a large portion of the drama-filled saga.
Although he didn’t end up joining close friend Chris Paul and superstar James Harden, both players expressed kind words for Anthony when they found themselves in New York for a preseason contest against the Knicks on Monday night.
"There was a lot of speculation throughout the entire summer and it was kind of getting annoying," Harden told Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. "But I'm happy that everyone is settled in. Melo is in OKC and seems to be happy. Ryan (Anderson) is comfortable. So everyone is in a good place.”
The remaining portion of Anderson’s hefty multi-year contract was reportedly one of the few reasons why Anthony didn’t end up in Houston, as the Knicks didn’t want to take on the financial burden and no third-party team could be swayed.
"I sorta felt like he would be traded," Paul said of Melo. "I actually hoped he would to give him peace of mind so he could be happy. And I think he's happy now.”
Even Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who previously coached Anthony in New York, had some kind words to say. That was especially odd since his time with the Knicks got a bit messy at the end and a rift between him and Melo was one of the reasons why he ended up quitting. He revealed that if Anthony was traded to Houston, he wouldn’t have a hard time looking past their previous differences.
"We all get better, hopefully, at what we do," D'Antoni explained. "It's a whole different situation. And we know that James and Chris are big friends (with Carmelo). And after New York we went to the (London) Olympics and won a gold medal so it's different."
Anthony’s Thunder and Harden and Paul’s Rockets will kick off the first of their three regular-season meetings on Christmas in front of a national audience. While Houston’s words about Anthony were pleasant on Monday, emotions will likely be at an all-time high in that primetime contest.