When one of the best players in the NBA hits the market -- or is even rumored at potentially becoming available -- it's only natural for the other 29 teams in the league to do their due diligence and see if they can acquire the star. After all, who isn't interested in adding LeBron James? Or Carmelo Anthony? Or Dwight Howard? Or Kevin Love?
The biggest name in discussions these days is Anthony's, who has been rumored to be considering exercising his early contract termination clause this summer and possibly changing teams. With those reports circulating, it's only natural for other reports to follow about teams interested in making a push for his services.
Today, the latest comes buzz comes from Marc Berman of the New York Post, who reports the Houston Rockets could hope to acquire Carmelo Anthony this summer.
According to a league source, the Rockets will make a bid for Anthony this summer, even though they probably won’t have cap space and would have to orchestrate a creative sign-and-trade. The source said Houston asked the Knicks about Anthony before February’s trade deadline.
The Knicks have held discussions with the Rockets about power forward Omer Asik. Even though Rockets president Daryl Morey is the pioneer of advanced statistics and Anthony has never fared well in some efficiency categories, Morey’s old-school instincts believe he could form a terrific Big 3 with Dwight Howard and James Harden. Rockets management also believes Anthony has made advancements in the grit department the past two seasons.
As The Post notes, the only way for the Rockets to acquire Carmelo would be to roll up the sleeves and figure out something with the books. That would likely mean moving Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, who are both due to make $15 million next season. It's unlikely the Knicks would be interested in taking back both of those contracts, meaning Houston would have to work out two separate deals or bring in a third team to land Melo.
The report comes at a time of transition for the Knicks, who are reportedly close to bringing in Phil Jackson to run their front office. Earlier this week, Carmelo said he had heard Phil was "coming on board" with the Knicks, but said he didn't believe the move would impact his free agency. That's likely not true, as Jackson's first -- and most likely most important -- decision as president of basketball operations will be to decide whether Carmelo is a part of the team's future or not.
If Carmelo does end up in Houston, the Big Three of him, Dwight Howard and James Harden could be devastating, and potentially just as dominants as the trio gathered in South Beach. All were 2014 NBA All-Stars, all are currently in their primes (Carmelo is the oldest and turns 30 this season), all are hungry to win their first title and all three have games that aren't redundant.
But a lot stands in between Carmelo coming to Houston. Most prominently, the question of whether his and his wife even want to move to Texas. There's also the complications of whether the Rockets have the pieces to entice the Knicks, whether they can get creative enough with the cap, and whether or not the Knicks get a better offer from another team.