While I still think there is next to zero chance of this happening, the Houston Rockets continue to be mentioned as a "sleeper" team to trade for the services of Denver Forward Carmelo Anthony.
With New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov saying he is done negotiating with the Nuggets after dragging this out for so long, Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted this yesterday evening:
Sleeper team in 'Melo pursuit: Houston. Picks, young players and most of all, sources say, a willingness to do trade w/o Anthony extension.
So it appears we are right back where we were over the Summer; mentioned in the same sentence with stars but as a possibility only. Regardless of my opinion of if it will happen or not, lets take a look after the jump and see whether the move would be a good plan at this point.
The biggest thing that concerns me about a potential trade for Carmelo Anthony isn't his attitude or whether or not he's bound to be "Tracy McGrady part II." I wouldn't debate that until a move happened. No, my primary concern is the whole "Rental" thing.
With the package that the Nuggets are demanding for 'Melo, he isn't going to come cheap at all. So please stop throwing out stuff like Bud & Hill plus a draft pick in exchange. It isn't going to happen, so stop sounding like an idiot (I'm talking to you, sports radio callers).
The next thing is that we need to stop overvaluing our assets. I'm as guilty of it as anyone, but that Knicks swap is going to be useless and teams aren't quite as desperate to shed cap space as they were last year. So the expiring deals of Jeffries and Battier aren't going to have any GM's leaving DNA evidence in their pants.
Next, perhaps we need to stop overrating Daryl Morey. I've been maybe the most guilty of this, calling him one of the best in the game for two plus years now. Yes, he's made some great moves, but with what results? Blame injuries as much as you want, but someone who is considered to be the "best" GM in the league would have a backup plan. He wouldn't let his whole team go down the crapper because of one injury. We still don't know how much Les has tied his hands in regards to Yao, but the fact remains that for all Morey's wheeling and dealing we haven't had much success since he's been here. A trip to the 2nd round of the playoffs...oh, shit! Now we're talking!
Come on, Houston...We need to expect more out of our teams than that.
We need to demand more.
But I digress. Apologies. Back to Carmelo.
If we do find a way to trade for him, it is going to cost us. Our team is likely going to be gutted, so thinking that we are only "one player away" from being a Western Conference threat is likely ludicrous. Because you won't get that one guy without giving up plenty to get him. But I still don't think that should stop a move from being made. Let me explain why.
This team needs to rebuild. I'm not ready to just kick back and try to do it through the draft with always being just good enough to finish out of the lottery. So, do what it takes to bring 'Melo in. Best case scenario, he decides he likes the team and organization and comes to his senses and realizes that if he walks via free agency this Summer, he is going to lose roughly $40 Million long term because of the new CBA (I'm no capologist, but that is what I keep hearing). As opposed to signing an extension with Houston and getting his guaranteed money. Therefore, even if you gut the team you have your star to build around.
Worst case scenario, you give up too many young assets to bring him in and he still bolts for New York at years end. Then you're going to have to rebuild a young nucleus. But, a sign and trade could likely be worked out and you could get some picks and talent (Cleveland and Toronto got some nice considerations for Bosh & LeBron this past summer). Then you can rebuild the way Morey wants; with no restrictions or lousy contracts.
In the end, I still think he goes to Jersey (who is probably bluffing) or the Knicks. Too much control in the players hands these days. But there is easy to see a plan of action for Morey and the Rockets if they're willing to do a trade without an extension. So don't whine too much if it does happen because we may only be renting 'Melo for a little over two months. There is definitely a plan in place for either scenario; an extension or a sign and trade.