With all of the Phil Jackson hype and talk of a playoff push, the previous elephant in the room has seemingly been tossed aside: Carmelo Anthony’s impending free agency. Of course, those prior two things affect the latter. The Knicks are very much acquiring Phil Jackson to help sell Anthony on a bright future in New York, and making the playoffs this season doesn’t hurt that cause, either.
However, despite the generally positive vibes circling around the Knicks, they won’t be alone in targeting Anthony. According to a report from Marc Berman, the latest NBA Rumors say that the Houston Rockets may target Anthony, too:
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.
As far as losing ‘Melo to a sign-and-trade goes, the Rockets would be a good business partner for the Knicks. Berman mentions Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik’s names in the reports, both of whom would be a. nice, young pick-ups in the interim for the Knicks, and b. expire by 2015, so the Knicks could preserve their cap space. However, in a potential deal, the Knicks would be able to also target Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones, or draft picks. They couldn’t acquire all of those pieces, of course, but all of them are nice options.
Keep in mind, too, that Dwight Howard reportedly gave Anthony advice on how to approach his free agency. Specifically, Howard told Anthony to do what’s best for his career and happiness, and that the big-market glory of places like Los Angeles and New York can be found elsewhere with team success. Anthony, who has said he’d take a paycheck, would certainly become part of the most talented core in the NBA in Houston.
However, his fit with Howard and James Harden is questionable. Howard uses up a lot of space in the post and, as we know, isn’t a fan of the pick-and-roll game. Harden is ball-dominant and likes to operate from the wings. Anthony, of course, could find room on opposite wings or low blocks, but he’d see the ball far less than he’s used to. If he could accept a more spot-up role like he plays on the Olympic team, it’d be a great fit, but on paper, it’d be tough to blend together.
Just another situation to monitor when the summer comes around.
Follow Scott Davis on Twitter.