Why Carmelo Anthony in Houston Could Work
Carmelo Anthony has been the center of trade rumors for a while now, as his unhealthy relationship with Knicks brass has become public. What makes trade talks about Anthony different than other players is that he controls where he goes- he has a full no-trade clause, giving him the right to veto any trade he is involved in. But, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that he is willing to waive the no-trade clause for a trade to two different teams- his buddy LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Houston Rockets, who happen to have just dealt for another one of Anthony’s buddies- Chris Paul. And many are reporting that a deal with Houston is likely to get done in the coming weeks. Many are skeptical that Paul can’t coexist with James Harden because they both need the ball in their hands at all times, and adding Melo would just enhance these issues. But in fact, not only would Paul and Harden excel together, but adding Anthony into the fold would make them even better.
If Carmelo Anthony were to end up in Houston, he’d pretty obviously be the third best player on the team. And he’s never been anything aside from the top option in the NBA. But, he’s been fantastic in his Olympic career when he didn't have to carry the load. Last summer, he became the all-time scoring leader in the history of Team USA, and he’s been ultra-effecient. He could be an absolutely lethal third option, putting up great scoring numbers and doing so with career-best shooting percentages.
The one unknown with this situation is what the return for Anthony would be. It seems likely that Eric Gordon would be the first to go, but it would take another player with a hefty salary to make it work. Given that the Knicks would be crazy to take on Ryan Anderson’s massive contract, Trevor Ariza may have to be the odd man out, which is unfortunate, but it would still be great value for the Rockets.
The biggest reason this is a risk worth taking is, if it blows up in GM Daryl Morey’s face, he won’t have lost much. Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza are both fine, but they’re role players at this point. Risking those two for the chance to have a shot against the Warriors is more than worth it.