On the one hand, it is perfectly understandable why Carmelo Anthony feels he should be entitled to drive the agenda now. For months he sat in stony silence while his name and reputation were bloodied by his ex-boss. He was determined to win his cold war with Phil Jackson.

And won it.

Now, he wants to enjoy the spoils of that victory. He very much would like to play for the Houston Rockets — where his good friend Chris Paul now plays point guard, where his ex-nemesis Mike D’Antoni is now the head coach, where James Harden is the undisputed $228 million alpha dog.

There actually seemed to be an un-halt-able momentum growing a few weeks ago, an inevitability toward catapulting Anthony to Houston for a couple of nickels on the dollar. Then the Knicks, in an uncharacteristic burst of sanity and competence, halted the brakes, decided to regroup.

And that reportedly made Melo unhappy.

That is understandable, and it is reasonable, and it is logical, and Anthony absolutely is entitled to feel frustrated, and irritated, and aggravated, and agitated. But here is one thing Anthony is not entitled to:

Playing for the Rockets.

Not until the Knicks work a deal that works for them.

What Anthony has is a no-trade clause. It is an amazing thing to have in the NBA. LeBron James has one, in Cleveland. Dirk Nowitzki has one from the Mavericks, something of a lifetime-achievement honor to reward him for 18 Hall-of-Fame seasons there. And Anthony has one, with the Knicks, granted to him by Phil Jackson, which makes you suspect Phil’s the kind of blackjack player who takes a card on 20 when the dealer’s showing a 6.