Carmelo Anthony is expected to sign with the Houston Rockets when he officially becomes a free agent, according to New York Times NBA reporter Marc Stein.
Anthony was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. The Hawks will waive Anthony to make him an unrestricted free agent, clearing the way for Anthony to join his good friend Chris Paul and reigning NBA MVP James Harden.
Anthony had narrowed his decision down to Houston and the Miami Heat, though the Heat believed he would sign with the Rockets, according to the Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro.
The addition of Anthony should help the Rockets make up for some of the scoring they lost in free agency.
Here’s how the Rockets will look with Carmelo Anthony.
Rockets Starting Lineup & Roster With Carmelo Anthony
PG – Chris Paul, De’Anthony Melton
SG – James Harden, Eric Gordon
SF – Carmelo Anthony, PJ Tucker, Gerald Green
PF – Ryan Anderson, Chinanu Onuaku
C – Clint Capela*, Nene Hilario, Zhou Qi
*denotes restricted free agent
The Rockets still have work to do in free agency. Starting center Clint Capela is a restricted free agent. Houston made a five-year, $85 million contract offer on July 1, but Capela is apparently seeking a contract in the $100 million range. It seems likely the Rockets will retain Capela despite the discrepancy. Houston can match any offer made by another team as Capela is a restricted free agent.
How Does Carmelo Anthony Fit in Houston?
Anthony isn’t the same player he was earlier in his career, but his fit in Houston, at least from a scoring perspective, cannot be understated. Houston lost starting small forward Trevor Ariza to the Suns. Anthony could very well find himself starting this season alongside Harden, Paul, Capela, and Anderson.
The other forwards on Houston’s roster don’t have nearly as much starting experience, nor are they as productive on offense. PJ Tucker started less than half of his appearances last season and Gerald Green only started two games.
It will be interesting to see how Anthony plays alongside Paul and Harden. He didn’t fare that well as the third option in Oklahoma City behind Paul George and Russell Westbrook. And in Houston, if Capela is retained, Anthony might find himself as the fourth option.