Carmelo Anthony is interested in coming here? To Houston? To play for the Rockets? Don't be messing with us, Sports Illustrated.
Supposedly it's so.
SI reported that the Rockets are on a short list of teams Anthony would be interested in joining if he and his current employers, the Denver Nuggets, can't come to a salary extension agreement. The New York Knicks and New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets are the other contenders.
At this point it's still a longshot that a trade will happen -- if the Nuggets have any sense they'll negotiate something quick -- but we can dream, can't we?
Anyone who knows anything about the NBA knows that this was the Summer of LeBron. Teams had been clearing cap space, preparing Powerpoint presentations and city tours in hopes of luring the shining beacon of franchise hope to their respective teams. That search is behind us now, when he made The Decision to "take my talents to South Beach."
That's not what was frustrating. The Rockets were never contenders to reel in King James. The issue is that James was not the only attractive free agent. Beyond the trio that ended up with the Miami Heat (James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh), there was also Amar'e Stoudamire, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Carlos Boozer, Rudy Gay and David Lee up for grabs. And yet the most the Rockets front office could muster up was a "blockbuster" four-team trade, sending away Trevor Ariza and his bloated contract, and bringing in Courtney Lee. Over two seasons in the NBA, Lee averaged a decent 10.3 points per game.
Right now it's all rumors and speculation, but if Anthony -- who averaged 28.2 PPG last year, and 24.7 for his career -- did in fact come to the Rockets, he'd be the first top-tier, proven scorer since ... we'd say Tracy McGrady, but he was never really at his best in Houston ... and Yao has never been much more than a 20-10 guy ... well, we're at a loss here (suggestions?). Let's just say it's been some time since Rockets' fans have had a guy who could routinely score 30 a game.
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True, Anthony is no Shane Battier. 'Melo has a bit of legal baggage. In 2004 there was a marijuana possession. He was part of a brawl between the Nuggets and Knicks in 2006, which led to a 15-game suspension. And in 2008 he was arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence, to which he eventually pleaded guilty.
But trading for Anthony would instantly make the Rockets a playoff-caliber team -- assuming Yao's body could hold up for a season or two longer. They'd probably be one of the top four teams in the Western Conference, with the Lakers, Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder (that Kevin Durant kid is damn good!).
GM Daryl Morey would certainly be forced to unload some talent to get Anthony in a Rockets jersey, but it would certainly be nice to have a winning sports franchise in town again soon. With the Astros mailing in the season and the Dynamo hanging around the wrong end of the MLS standings, the coming months look bleak.
So, what say you: If you were in Morey's expensive, leather shoes, would you push to trade for Carmelo Anthony? Or is Courtney Lee the future?