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Report: Houston Rockets to pursue Carmelo Anthony this summer

Mar 14, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

Carmelo Anthony

At a panel during the Sloan Conference, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers described the arduous process of acquiring Andre Iguodala.

The Warriors had no cap room last summer, so Myers faced a two-sided task to land the free agent. Not only did he negotiate with Iguodala, Myers discussed trades with other teams to unload salary. It was exhausting, and Myers nearly gave up. But at the last moment, the Utah Jazz agreed to accept the salary of Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush, clearing the way for Golden State to get Iguodala.

Also on that panel: Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

Not that the creative Morey necessarily needed any tips, but if he were seeking inspiration, he found it.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to a league source, the Rockets will make a bid for Carmelo 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.

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Carmelo Anthony would certainly form a heck of a big three with Dwight Howard and James Harden, especially if Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley are filling the gaps. That is absolutely a championship-caliber team.

But acquiring Melo won’t be easy.

First, the Rockets would have to convince him to leave New York and take a pay cut. Here’s the maximum amount Melo could earn on his next contract if he re-signs with the Knicks or signs elsewhere:


Houston would almost certainly have to arrange a sign-and-trade with the Knicks to offer Melo his new-team max. Even if the Rockets cleared their roster of every player besides Howard and Harden, they still wouldn’t have enough cap space to sign Melo outright to his non-Knicks max (assuming a salary cap of $62.1 million).


Unless Melo is willing to surrender nearly $7 million during the next four years – and the Rockets are willing to dump all their valuable players beyond Howard and Harden –  a sign-and-trade is the only solution.

The Rockets could trade Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Ronnie Brewer’s unguaranteed contract to New York, and Anthony would get the full amount possible from from a non-Knicks team.

But how does Houston make that trade base palatable for New York?

Lin and Asik would likely be integral to any such deal. Though their cap hits are each $8,374,646 next season, their actual salaries are $14,898,938. Even the free-spending Knicks might pause at paying role players so much.

New York would certainly push for Chandler Parsons, but he’s pretty valuable in his own right, maybe too valuable to include in a sign-and-trade for Melo. Terrence Jones could be a good compromise sweetener, and Patrick Beverley is also a valuable player, though his inclusion would leave Houston shorthanded at point guard.

The Rockets also have all their own upcoming first-round picks and assortment of future second rounders to grease any deal.

There are plenty of obstacles to clear for Houston to land Melo, but as Morey certainly knows, it’s at least possible.

  1. money2long - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    If the Knicks gave in to a sign and trade, why settle for Lin and asik when another team would offer somethin better ? Maybe even something that would help expidite a future rebuild

    Sorry morey. This isn’t 2k

    • Kevin S. - Mar 14, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      Because Melo will position his #2 preference as a team with cap space to sign him outright. Since the Knicks will be over the cap even without Melo, getting useful players for a year (i.e. not messing up their long-term cap situation) is probably preferable to nothing, unless they want to save money and try to bottom out next year (unlikely, given Dolan).

    • unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      Teams on the other end of a sign and trade can ask for a lot- but in reality can’t get much because of their lack of leverage. If it comes down to it that Melo wants Houston- the Knicks can let him walk (like the Lakers did with Howard) thereby denying him his chance at extra money. Or they can take whatever they can get in a sign and trade. Asik and Lin and a few picks would be a pretty decent haul (Cavs and Raps didn’t get much but a few pciks when LBJ and Bosh decided to head to Miami)..

    • justindad2 - Mar 15, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      (I dont like Melo) to answer your question about Sign_n_Trade, the key is which team Melo wants to go (agree the new contract etc)…Like Nash agreed w the Suns, wanted to go to the LAL instead of the NYK 2 summer ago.

  2. money2long - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    And who cares about bein shorthanded at point guard when u form a big three like that??? Another point guard would surely be knocking down your door to want to play there

    • chuvok - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      A big 3 that has a cry baby in Howard, a ball hog in Anthony and Harden. I have nothing bad to say about Harden, I was sad to see him leave the Thunder. But yeah sure a big 3 like that. Because the last “big 3” than Anthony was part of worked so well also, the dude is toxic.

      • money2long - Mar 15, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        His LAST big three ?
        Where was his FIRST ?

    • bougin89 - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      They could just keep Beverly next year for a shade under $1 million. If they did acquire Melo, Bevery would be a perfect role playing PG. Cheap, defense first and he doesn’t take shots/need to shoot the ball a lot. Harden already dominates the ball in their offense.

      • gensoric - Mar 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Um, Bev takes/averages almost as many shots as Lin as a defense “specialist” even though his shooting % is a lot worse (FG 40% vs Lin’s 45%).

        Bev 8.4 FGA 31:42 min
        Lin 9.2 FGA 29:01 min

        And Bev’s pesky defense is starting to cost the team a lot of points due to fouls and technical. He is almost leading the league in averaging fouls per game. Every foul is potential 2 or 3 points for the opponents, with high percentage (75%+) scoring VS a turnover where it is 50/50 proposition at best it ends in points for the other side.

        So really, Bev is costing the team a lot of points going the other way and one of reason that his NET rating is going south, Lin is having better NET rating than Bev when playing with the same starters.

        To extrapolate more, Lin has higher winning % as a starter than Bev. But this can be deduced judging by Lin’s critical PG stats which everyone choose to ignore.

        So stop with the false narratives. Just admit that

  3. money2long - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    And another thing, what saddens me is that once MELO is in a great situation, only then will people finally open their eyes to his worth. He’s playing amazingly right now yet still catches flak from he masses yet, if he were to play the exact same way in a situation laid out here, people will all of a sudden see the light. Win in really changes people’s perspective. Judging Carmelo individually, at this moment, people just hate and hate. Once he’s on a team that even makes the finals, many people will act as though they always knew he was such a brilliant talent.

    My advice to you guys throwing stones at Carmelo, don’t let your bias interfere with appreciating the talent this man brings to the court nightly. You can’t point out many people who can do what he does. Allow yourself to appreciate him. This is his prime years.

  4. jolink653 - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Yeah, because we all know how much the Knicks want Jeremy Lin back…

    This would be a mistake for Houston. They already have a really good team and they’re much better off developing it further than blowing it all up and bringing in Carmelo. Plus no one will take back the poison pill years of Asik and Lin, so I can’t see any trade working unless many picks are involved

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Uh, I have two words for you…

      Raymond Felton.

      • jolink653 - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        What does Felton have to do with it? You think James Dolan wants any part of Lin after the way he perceived the way Lin kept trying to play Houston and the Knicks against each other? Everyone one knows Dolan lets his ego get in the way far too much and he took the whole Lin thing personally, which is why they ultimately didn’t match the offer sheet.

        And just for the record, Felton has been playing really well as of late. I know it’s a little too late, but we’re starting to see flashes of last year’s Felton over the last few games. Maybe he’s finally getting his head back in the game

    • bougin89 - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      Right on.

      I highly doubt any team takes on Lin and Asik for $30 million(cash value) next year without serious cash exchanging hands between the teams. Possible but complicated.

      • bkbell3 - Mar 14, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        You can only send out 3mil. per year per team.

      • justindad2 - Mar 15, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        dude, $.50 MSG stock value over $30mil, 2 weeks of Linsanity pushed MSG up over $200mil value in 2012.

      • bougin89 - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        It still doesn’t mean it’s smart. Linsanity is over too. That won’t be happening again.

    • pfic15 - Mar 15, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      A really good team? Lol. OK.

  5. charlescub80 - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Welcome to fantasy land

  6. thomaskouns - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Melo said he’d take less money to stay in NY.

    Now let’s see if he’d take less money to win a Championship.

  7. bougin89 - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    It’s a long shot(at best) but I think the Rockets should target Bosh. He would be perfect next to Howard and Harden.

    I still don’t think the big three in Miami will split up but if Bosh decided to bolt I can’t think of a much better situation than Houston for him.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      Agreed. I’ve always felt that Bosh’s game has been hurt by playing with James & Wade. They’ve basically turned him into a jump shooter. I think people have forgotten just how good Bosh is…..a team like Houston can make good use of him.

      • smoothaswilkes - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        What? LBJ and Wade have turned Bosh in to a jump shooter, but you want Bosh to be a jump shooter playing next to Howard? It’s not like Bosh will get a lot of post up opportunities on Houston with that offense.

    • justindad2 - Mar 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      dude, I would agree w you 3 yrs ago, Bosh even older than Melo, both over-the-hill, like Granger Wallace DWill, declining.

  8. aboogy123456 - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    A team with Harden, Melo, Dwight, maybe beverly, and a bunch of minimum salary guys would easily be the frontrunner for the championship IMO

    • savvybynature - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      Maybe they’d easily be the media-darling frontrunner, much like the Lakers last season with Nash, Howard and Kobe, but that means nothing other than jersey sales.
      No way I’d call that team championship favorites without seeing it work first.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        that’s a good point but I think it’s a good combo because Harden is a great ball handler and creator on offense, but if you put an elite defender on him it can be difficult for him to score. Melo is an unstoppable scorer and Howard is the defensive anchor that can dominate down low and make everyone better. I think the roles would be well defined on that team and if Harden is your third best player that’s awesome.

      • money2long - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        Can’t compare the potential Houston trio with la trio considering la was playing with damaged goods all that season.

      • savvybynature - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        I think it would make for a good foundation for a team too, but teams like the Heat, Pacers, Spurs and OKC aren’t going to go away quietly.
        Plus those other teams have good-to-great benches, coaches and team chemistry, whereas the Rockets would have question marks in those areas (McHale seems like a pretty good coach but we’ll have to see how he does in the playoffs to know for sure).
        Even Kobe and Shaq didn’t win it all right away, and those were two top-15 players of all time playing together in their primes.

  9. ws0001 - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Ridiculous stuff. The Knicks aren’t paying $29 million to have both Tyson Chandler and Omer Asik. Phil Jackson knows what he wants out of his players, and a guy who can’t catch a pass and misses more than half his layups every year is not it. He guards the rim at both ends, and he is better at guarding it on the offensive end with his bad hands and lack of touch. No thank you. Jeremy Lin is just another guy in the league and is getting paid like a star. Nobody is taking on that contract, much less it be integral to any deal. Terrence Jones and Patrick Beverley are nothing special. Neither are building blocks for a rebuilding team. Jones is just an athletic garbage man, and Bevelerly is the epitome of a journeyman. As for the Rockets, another gunner who isn’t interested in playing defense is not going to elevate them into a contender. Houston is what the Nuggets were the past few years, a fun regular season team with no hope come playoff time. The best they can hope for is to get to the second round and lose in 5 to OKC or San Antonio.

  10. houston1193 - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    How can Houston trade Ronnie Brewer’s contract if he was waived last month?

    Just wondering.

  11. csbanter - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Melo, Harden, and Howard it’ll take them time to adjust. That doesn’t bode well when the idea is to go for it in 2014 with this trio. They would need a Rajon Rondo to make this work.

  12. ocgunslinger - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    I’m all for it. Turn the Rockets into complete losers with both Anthony and Howard on the same team.

    • chitownmatt - Mar 14, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Unless the NBA makes a rule change and starts playing with 2 basketballs…

    • yearightman - Mar 15, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      you forgot Howard too….The most current entitled ball hogs all on the same team…lol seriously!

  13. zickhead - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Melo has not helped any team, he’s proven to be selfish and a ball hog and his teams just get worse each year.

    What’s Knicks excuse for being so bad this year, they don’t have a legit PG? Overall their team has better players then the Bulls, Wizards and Bobcats who are all better then them this year.

    • irvfin3 - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      The team has not helped Melo. Management and injuries are the main reason the Knicks are where they are compared to last season. If management was smart they’d surround Melo with defensive minded starters some of which who can put up decent numbers!

  14. alongthegulf - Mar 14, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    The Rockets are a team on the rise. Why would Houston want to pursue a ball hogging, self centered smuck that nobody likes. The Rockets would be moving backwards!

    • cruzan80 - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      So far….Joakim Noah, Derick Rose & Daryl Morey seem to like him quite a bit.

  15. psubeerman21 - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    It won’t be that difficult to move Lin or Asik, just not to the Knicks. For instance, the 76ers would love to get Asik to mentor young Noel for a year, but only if they send us a draft pick to sweeten the deal. If you want to get rid of salary, there are teams that will be able to take it on. For a price, of course.

  16. antistratfordian - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Great idea. I doubt Melo would go to Houston but you can’t blame them for trying – as long as they don’t pull a Cuban to try to get him and fail.

  17. sumkat - Mar 15, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    If Melo opts out, all bets are off.

    Forget the teams that have the cap space to sign him. I’m sure a few teams would drive away a few 1sts to get the cap space for him. There are teams (like Philly) that would love to eat a year or two of salary for 2 firsts.

    Lets just say, for example, the Suns think they can get Melo as a FA (they most likely can’t, but lets say they can), and they are willing to give the sixers their 2 middle 1st round picks to eat 20 mil in their worst salary, so they can go after Melo. Sixers would be willing to do that, and from that teams point of view, they gave up 2 1st and salary for Melo, not a bad deal.

    Not sure what 1st round assets those teams have to give up over the this year and next (surely what the Sixers would be looking for, or any other team in that position), or how much that boat load of 2’s the sixers have could sweeten the deal. But this is a scenario I think will be very likely if Melo opts out. I think the list of teams that think they can bring him in will go from 2-3 to 7-8.

    I’m sure they’d have to have a deal in place with Melo before making that trade, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, considering teams like the sixers, lakers (who would never do it) and a few other could afford to absorb a lot of salary to help someone else chase Melo

  18. raycharlesj - Mar 15, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    The Knicks already rejected matching that poison pill deal the Rockets gave to Lin once!! Why would they take two poison pill deals now, for both Asik and Lin??? And Asik is supposed to be better then Tyson Chandler?? I don’t think so. Poison pill contracts for two back ups??? And you give up your best player?? interesting.

  19. justindad2 - Mar 15, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Rumors all over the internet ever since Howard and Carmelo Anthony have spoken about Melo’s impending free agency weeks ago. It wont make sense, Melo Bosh all over-the-hill wont fit the young Rockets. If Morey were Kupchak, who like over-the-hill big names, it would be possible.

  20. yearightman - Mar 15, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Wait….how is having Harden (ball hog), Howard (drama queen) entitlement ego, and Anthony (A1 ball hog) who cant make a team better going to make them a championship team.

  21. xmatt0926x - Mar 15, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Carmelo Anthony is just a taller Allen Iverson. He’ll never blend in with any other players in a particular system. Everything will have to run through him or he just won’t be very interested once the novelty of being a “team guy” wears off after 2 weeks.

    He was a losing player in Denver and is one now. A lot of empty #’s is what he’s interested in. He will never sacrifice any of his game to make his team better and more efficient. I don’t understand why teams still think this guy can be a centerpiece of a true contender.

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