Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports

More nightmares for Cavs point to Celtics emerging as East's top team

Ty Anderson
August 02, 2017 - 5:50 pm

Everything's coming up roses in regards to the Celtics’ chances of dethroning LeBron James and the Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference’s crown next season.

Not only is this likely to be James’ last season in Cleveland, and not only does Kyrie Irving desperately want out of town before the start of the season, but now they’re being told that forward Carmelo Anthony will not waive his no-trade clause to leave the Knicks (yes, that disaster in New York known as the Knicks) for the Cavs this summer.

In fact, it’s Houston or bust for the 33-year-old Anthony, according to the New York Post.

“A stalemate has ensued as sources indicate Anthony only wishes to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Rockets,” the Post’s Marc Berman wrote this week. “Not even Cleveland, which is in turmoil, is good enough for Anthony as the Cavaliers are dealing with Kyrie Irving’s trade demand.

“The Knicks’ management tandem of Steve Mills-Scott Perry claim it won’t trade Anthony to Houston unless it cobbles together a solid deal that makes sense for the Knicks’ future. Nothing has materialized.”

Anthony’s preference to stay in New York over a run with the Cavaliers says a lot about where the Cavs are trending -- especially if James leaves as a free agent and Irving’s trade request is granted -- and only means good things for a C’s group that added Gordon Hayward and 2017’s No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum this summer while the conference continued to go through another round of its recent talent drainage.

The Celtics beat out the Cavaliers for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last year, compiling a 53-win season versus the 51-win campaign for the hot-and-cold Cavaliers, but ultimately fell to James and Co. in a five-game East Finals series.

The Celtics have not won the Eastern Conference title since 2010.

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