As Nets stall, Rockets quietly enter Carmelo derby - Sports Illustrated

Rockets enter Carmelo derby

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As the Nets and Pistons wait for a decision from Denver on the future of Carmelo Anthony, the Houston Rockets have quietly made a push to acquire the All-Star forward, league sources told

While the Rockets don't have a franchise talent like New Jersey's Derrick Favors, they can offer cap relief in the expiring contract of Yao Ming ($17.7 million), Shane Battier ($7.4 million) and Jared Jeffries ($6.9 million), as well young talent like leading scorer Kevin Martin or Aaron Brooks, the NBA's 2009-10 Most Improved Player. Houston also has the right to swap draft picks with the Knicks in 2011 and it owns New York's pick outright in 2012.

It is unclear if Anthony would be willing to sign an extension with Houston or if the Rockets are willing to make a deal for Anthony without the extension. Sources told in August that Anthony would be willing to sign with the Rockets but that was before Yao's season-ending injury.

One source said that while the Rockets were discussing a trade for Anthony they were "not close" to a deal on Monday.