For the third time in four years, the Houston Rockets are once again looking to add Carmelo Anthony to their roster.
It seems like deja vu all over again.
In an attempt to avoid the biggest payroll and luxury tax bill in NBA history, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Carmelo Anthony have agreed to part ways this summer. Getting rid of Anthony and his contract will save the Thunder over $100 million for the 2018-19 season.
Whether they trade or buy him out of his contract, the 10-time NBA All-Star will be looking for a new home to start the season. And once again, the Houston Rockets are looking to obtain his services, while Chris Paul leads the recruitment process.
According to ESPN‘s Dave McMenamin, Anthony’s business manager and a few key members of the Rockets staff met Sunday afternoon during Houston’s 87-81 Summer League victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Despite winning a league-best 65-games and coming one win away from the NBA Finals, the Rockets may need to win the Melo-Sweepstakes more so than any other year.
So far, it seems as if the Rockets have not had any luck in free agency this summer. LeBron James has moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers, Paul George decided to stay with the Thunder, and DeMarcus Cousins signed a one-year deal to join the Warriors.
In the midst of all this, the Rockets also lost Trevor Ariza who decided to take more money and sign with the Phoenix Suns. If the season started today, Houston would be left with a huge void to fill in Ariza’s absence.
Even though adding Anthony may not improve Houston’s defense, Melo would be a huge upgrade for the Rockets offensively.
Anthony is coming off a career-low 16.2 points per games, but can still play an important role in Houston’s historic offense. In addition to adding another solid three-point shooter, Anthony’s biggest contribution would be his mid-range game.
Yes, the NBA has turned to a three-point driven league, but sometimes it helps to have a player or two who knows how to score from the inside. Just take a look at Kevin Durant‘s performance in Game 1 of the Conference Finals against the Rockets.
He only scored six points from behind the arc, but still managed to score an efficient 37-points as the Warriors took a 119-106 victory in Game 1.
His inside game constantly created mismatches and he became a nightmare for the Rockets to guard. Despite the solid defense played by Ariza and PJ Tucker, Durant averaged 30.4 points on 46.1 percent shooting from the field for the series.
Not having a player who can score from the inside hurt Houston’s chances for advancing to the finals, especially after they missed 27 straight three-pointers in Game 7 of the Conference Finals loss.
If the Rockets would have had a player of Anthony’s caliber Houston would have closed the series out in six, even with an injured CP3.
As of right now, all signs are pointing to Carmelo Anthony signing with the Houston Rockets, but it would not be easy. In additional to Houston, the Lakers, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers have all expressed their interest in signing the future Hall-of-Famer.
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