James Harden on the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors: “That’s out of my hands”

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

If it were all up to James Harden, Carmelo Anthony would be a Houston Rocket, but unfortunately for us, it’s not.

James Harden’s Houston Rockets, like the rest of the NBA, have used this offseason to load up in what has become an arms race. Kevin Durant signed in Golden State last offseason, as if the 2015-16, 73-9 Warriors weren’t already dominating enough.

Basketball analysts and fans met Durant’s move with harsh criticism – claiming that he took the easy road to an NBA Finals. He made the best team in the West even better and eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder as a contender in the process. Some even said that if the Warriors win a ring, it won’t be as special because of Durant’s “cowardly” move.

Well, Kevin Durant did lead his Warriors team to an NBA title. And as much as we may hate to admit it, championship rings don’t come with an asterisk beside them. Golden State had to win the same amount of games as every other championship team. With Golden State’s four All-Stars 29 years of age or younger, the Dubs will be competing for chips in the foreseeable future.

Houston joins the arms race

Although the Rockets won 55 games last year, they never quite had the firepower to really contend with Golden State. So Daryl Morey and the crew set out this offseason to close the gap by acquiring 10x All-Star Chris Paul. James Harden and Chris Paul will likely become the most formidable backcourt in the league.

After finalizing the deal for CP3, the Rockets turned their full attention towards acquiring Carmelo Anthony. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks said they couldn’t “imagine a scenario” where Carmelo suits up in a New York uniform next season. Although Houston and New York were never very close to agreeing on a deal, another season in New York for Carmelo seemed out of the question. But boy do things change quickly in the NBA.

On Thursday evening, the Knicks shocked the NBA world when they decided to pull Anthony off of the trading block.

Story posting soon with @RamonaShelburne on ESPN: The Knicks have paused Carmelo Anthony trade talks with Houston and Cleveland.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 14, 2017

It was a disappointing turn of events for folks in Houston, as we were so close to putting together a Big Three of our own. James Harden said that Carmelo Anthony was “one of the best players that we have in this league” and talked about how much Melo would add to the team, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.

“I let the front office deal with that. If we can get him, obviously he would help our team tremendously.”

Indeed, Carmelo would help the Rockets tremendously. His ability to score at will from anywhere on the court and play at either forward position would put a wrinkle in Mike D’Antoni‘s offense that not even the ’04 Pistons could iron out.

James Harden is playing wait-and-see, too

We often like to joke about how much power LeBron James has in Cleveland, crowning The King with another moniker, “Le-GM”. But despite the increased power of today’s NBA superstars over the ones from the past, sometimes even they just watch from the sidelines like the rest of us, as Harden said to Josh Weinfuss.

“That’s out of my hands. I go out there and put the basketball in the hoop and handle my business.”

Just because the Knicks have pulled Carmelo Anthony off of the trading block for now doesn’t mean they won’t revert back to their original plan. Carmelo’s services were no longer needed in New York, the front office made that message painfully clear. Would he actually want to return to a franchise and fanbase that doesn’t really want him? Or a New York Knicks team that isn’t likely to make the playoffs until he’s too old to carry them anymore?

Related Story: Why the Knicks put Carmelo Anthony trade talks with the Rockets on hold

I wouldn’t be surprised if Carmelo eventually attempts to force a trade to join his buddies Chris Paul and James Harden in H-town, or dare I say it, LeBron James in Cleveland.