Rockets’ Dignity Sacrificed In Pursuit of Carmelo Anthony

By Brett David Roberts

Jan 3, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) gets a rebound during the first quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets are thought to be the main candidates for Carmelo Anthony’s services, should the free agent choose not to re-sign with the New York Knicks and buy into Phil Jackson’s restructuring of the team.

But at what cost should a team go to recruit the likes of Anthony?

The Rockets made a controversial billboard in welcoming Melo, one that offended incumbent Rocket Jeremy Lin. The billboard (pictured below) shows Anthony wearing Lin’s No. 7.

This might not be a problem, if he were already a Rocket, if he had already asked Lin for that number. But to just include Anthony wearing Lin’s number is a sign of disrespect. There’s really no other way to spin it.

Melo has shown little commitment to winning in the past. The Denver Nuggets reached the Western Conference Finals, and rather than wait until the end of the season to sign with the Knicks, Anthony forced a sign-and-trade which ultimately depleted the Knicks’ roster. The result has been disastrous for the Knicks, a team saddled with bad contracts and a team which entirely missed the postseason.

Lin, meanwhile, has been a consummate professional in his time in Houston. After exploding onto the scene in New York, Lin accepted a reduced role in Houston after the Rockets acquired James Harden two seasons ago. There was no complaint on Lin’s part that he wouldn’t be one of the focal points of the offense. Further, he did not whine when Patrick Beverley ultimately took the starting job.

And his loyalty and hard work was rewarded by showing Anthony wearing Lin’s number. Something about that has to leave a foul taste in the mouth.