Rumors: Houston Rockets are frontrunners to land Carmelo Anthony

By Tevin Williams
(Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are the favorites to sign Carmelo Anthony in free agency after the Oklahoma City Thunder release him.

The Rockets still have interest in acquiring Carmelo Anthony, as earlier reports have suggested. Houston has recently emerged as ‘strong frontrunners’ to sign Anthony after Oklahoma City releases him.

The Houston Rockets have emerged as strong frontrunners to acquire Carmelo Anthony once he is free from Oklahoma City, league sources tell Yahoo. Anthony also has considered Miami.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 13, 2018

Carmelo Anthony will not be on the Thunder next season, but it’s unclear how they will part ways with the forward. Salary cap enthusiast Albert Nahmad pointed out how Chicago could be a potential trade partner for OKC.

The team recently withdrew their $1.7 million qualifying offer to David Nwaba. That move gave the Bulls $20 million in cap space, which will give them enough cushion to trade for Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he ultimately controls his own destiny. Although, Carmelo could agree to a trade to Chicago if the Bulls agree to immediately waive him.

My thinking (however flawed): You don’t withdraw a $1.7M QO to a player you like (Nwaba) unless you need that specific cap room for something planned. Doing it takes Bulls to $20M. Who’s dumping expiring $20M? Nobody. But Melo makes $28M and Felicio $8M…

— Albert Nahmad (@AlbertNahmad) July 13, 2018

According to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, the Thunder are looking for a trade partner for Anthony. He didn’t name any specific teams that had serious interest in trading for Anthony, which suggests the Thunder haven’t made any real progress in trade negotiations.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder could waive and stretch Anthony’s nearly $28 million salary if the team can’t find a trade partner within the next seven to 10 days. Doing so would save Oklahoma City a whopping $107 million in salary and luxury tax.

Next: Rockets should sign Carmelo only under these conditions

One way or another, the Thunder will part ways with Anthony this summer and he is likely to become a free agent. The Lakers and Heat are teams that Anthony will likely consider, but the Rockets are the best fit.

Houston obviously gives Anthony the best chance to compete for a title. The Rockets are also in desperate need of forwards, which guarantees Anthony a large role on the team.