A report last weekend indicated that executives around the NBA viewed the Rockets as favorites to land Carmelo Anthony if and when he reaches free agency. Multiple reports this week have corroborated that story, with Marc Stein of The New York Times and Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) both suggesting that Houston is the frontrunner for Anthony.
According to Stein, it would be a “full-fledged surprise” if Anthony doesn’t end up playing for the Rockets. Charania conveys a similar sentiment, writing that Houston is the “strong” favorite to land the veteran forward, having pulled away from the Heat in the Carmelo sweepstakes.
Anthony is still technically a member of the Thunder, but Oklahoma City is on track to part ways with the 10-time All-Star, either by buying him out, waiving and stretching him, or trading him to a team that will waive him.
As we learned earlier this week, the Thunder granted Anthony and his representatives permission to speak to potential suitors. Carmelo and his reps reportedly met with the Rockets and Heat, who were both said to have legitimate interest. The Lakers were mentioned as a possible landing spot for Anthony earlier in free agency, but Stein suggests L.A.’s interest was overstated.
The Rockets have lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute so far this offseason, but reached a deal to sign three-and-D wing James Ennis. Anthony would help fortify the team’s frontcourt depth. The club would be able to sign him using either the minimum salary exception or some or all of the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.337MM).