Carmelo Anthony rumors are starting to heat up, and his addition to the Rockets roster would be an interesting story heading into next season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Anthony has met with the Rockets and Heat despite technically still being under contract with the Thunder. The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported the Rockets are the favorite to sign Anthony, and ESPN previously reported that Houston planned to ramp up their recruitment of Anthony.
“A precise timetable for how quickly Anthony can secure his exit from Oklahoma City, most likely via buyout, is not yet clear,” Stein reported in his newsletter. “But, at this point, it would be a full-fledged surprise if he doesn’t wind up with the Rockets.”
Let’s take a look at what the Rockets roster and projected lineup would look like with the addition of Anthony. Keep in mind the roster will continue to evolve as free agency continues.
Rockets Roster & Projected Starting Lineup With Carmelo Anthony for 2018-19
C- Clint Capela (RFA), Nene, Zhou Qi
PF- P.J. Tucker, Ryan Anderson
SF- Carmelo Anthony, Vincent Edwards
SG- James Harden, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, R.J. Hunter
PG- Chris Paul, Michael Carter-Williams, De’Anthony Melton
Anthony is technically still on the Thunder, but is working with Oklahoma City on an exit strategy.
“Thunder are working on trade scenarios where Anthony, 34, would be moved as an expiring contract and be waived, becoming a free agent once his $28M clears waivers. OKC needs the Anthony’s permission to waive no-trade clause, which he has done to facilitate his exit, sources said,” Wojnarowski reported.
Stein reported the Lakers interest in Anthony has been “overstated”, and also explained how he sees Anthony potentially fitting into the lineup.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been widely mentioned as a chief rival to the Rockets once Anthony actually becomes a free agent, largely because the Lakers’ new face of the franchise is Melo’s close friend LeBron James. But it’s been suggested to me — strongly — that the Lakers’ interest is overstated…The Rockets have already established themselves as title contenders. The onus will thus be on Melo, more than the coach, to make this work, especially after Anthony’s gradual fade from prominence with the Thunder. Those Knicks, furthermore, didn’t have a Melo whisperer with the gravitas Paul possesses, which should make D’Antoni’s job easier this time.
The Rockets are still putting the finishing touches on their roster. Houston is still negotiating with Clint Capela who wants more money than the Rockets have offered so far. The challenge for Capela is there are very few teams with cap space left to give him the contract he is looking for. Houston lost Trevor Ariza in free agency to the Suns.
The addition of Anthony would likely mean Houston would go small with P.J. Tucker transitioning to power forward instead of small forward. There could be times when Anthony plays power forward as well. Anthony explained to ESPN in April that he continues to think deeply about his role moving forward.
“I think for me, my focus would be on kind of figuring out what I want out of the rest of my career, what I want in my future, what am I willing to accept, if I’m willing to accept that at all,” Anthony told ESPN in April. “I think everybody knows that I’ve sacrificed kind of damned near everything, family, moving here by myself, sacrificed my game for the sake of the team, and was willing to sacrifice anything and everything in order for this situation to work out.”