Hola, Dream Shakers. It’s good to be back after a nice, long vacation, and a lot has happened while I was gone. The Rockets make a bold and ballsy trade for Chris Paul and followed that up with the signing of a player long thought to be a great fit in H-town in P.J. Tucker. Now things are looking even more interesting.
It’s been widely reported that the Rockets are pursuing Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks, and according to ESPN, the Rockets (along with the Cleveland Cavaliers) are one of the teams Anthony is willing to waive his no trade clause for.
Should Houston GM Daryl Morey get this move done, it would be another ballsy deal for the gun slingin’ Morey. Despite his lack of postseason success and reputation as a ball stopper, Anthony has long been considered one of the game’s premier talents. He’s a career 24.8 points per game scorer and led the league in scoring average in 2013.
He’s also familiar with Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni from their time in New York together and is friends with new Rockets acquisition Paul from playing together on Team USA.
In addition, Anthony would fill a need in H-town. The Rockets’ lack of top playmakers outside of James Harden was severely exposed in their playoff series loss to the San Antonio Spurs, as Gregg Popovich instituted a strategy to get the ball out of the hands of the Houston shooters and force them to create their own shots in the paint and off the dribble.
The strategy pushed the Rockets out of their comfort zone offensively and put a ton of pressure on Harden that ultimately resulted in the now-infamous Game 6 meltdown. With Anthony in tow alongside Harden and Paul, the Rockets would have three top-flight offensive options they can go to when things get down and dirty in the postseason. Something tells me that San Antonio series looks very different with Anthony’s scoring rather than the numerous ill-fated Trevor Ariza drives to the paint we witnessed instead.
There would be concerns with Anthony, primarily on the defensive side. But in any move for Carmelo, Ryan Anderson likely gets shipped out the door, and Anthony’s no worse than Ryno on that end of the court, while supplying significantly more offensively. And with top-flight defenders Paul, Ariza and Tucker on the roster, Houston is already better situated defensively this season than last.
There’s also some concerns about Anthony’s fit, mostly due to his rep as a ball hog, but I do feel those worries are overblown. Anthony knows this would likely be his last opportunity for a title run as a professional, and he’d likely be more than willing to cede touches and control to close friend Paul and a supreme talent like The Beard. Anthony’s shown with Team USA that he can be effective in that type of environment, and it’s hard to see it not working with that much talent and respect playing alongside one another.
He’d be playing alongside two of the NBA’s best and most creative playmakers and for one of it’s most offensively inventive coaches on a team with plenty of offensive firepower and enough defensive presence to offset some of his shortcomings on that side of the ball. Shortcomings that would still need to be covered for by the Rockets, mind you, should Ryan Anderson still be on the roster instead of ‘Melo.
At least as of a few hours ago, it appears this move could be getting even closer to fruition. The New York Post reported this morning that the Knicks are telling most agents around the league that there will be no other movement on their side until they finish weighing their options with the Rockets.
Hang tight, Houston. This offseason looks like it’s about to get even more interesting.