Rumors: Rockets struggling to find trade partner for Carmelo Anthony

Houston Rockets Forward Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Forward Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are struggling to find a trade partner for Carmelo Anthony, as teams aren’t interested in an aging veteran that doesn’t seem to fit with most rosters.

Carmelo Anthony hasn’t played in an NBA game since early November, after the Houston Rockets announced they were parting ways with the 10-time All-Star.

The Rockets have been shopping Anthony on the markets, but most teams seem to be reluctant on agreeing to a deal. The Washington Wizards are the latest team to turn down any potential deal for Anthony, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein.

After signing Chris Paul and Clint Capela to massive contracts over the summer, the Rockets are now nearly $10 million over the luxury tax threshold. If Houston can find a team willing to trade for Anthony, they’ll avoid some of the luxury tax dollars they would owe if they waived him.

However, finding a team willing to take a shot at Anthony has proved to be a challenge. A lot of people have linked Anthony to the Lakers as a potential destination, especially since his longtime friend, LeBron James, decided to take his talents to LA over the summer. LeBron recently told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he would welcome having Anthony in purple and gold, but he doesn’t plan on pushing the front office to make it happen, via Silver Screen and Roll.

“Listen, it’s just my opinion. It’s not like I’m lighting a fire under anybody’s ass, it’s just my opinion. People ask me questions … ‘Would it be great to have Carmelo Anthony be on the Lakers?’ I believe Melo can still play the game, I believe I can help Melo. I know Melo better than Melo knows himself at times and vice versa. So if the opportunity presents itself I would welcome it.”

LeBron’s voice carries enough weight to pressure any front office, and in the past he has leveraged that voice to force the Cavaliers to make moves. It appears as if LeBron would like to play alongside Carmelo, as they’re best buddies. With that being said, James is unlikely to push Magic Johnson and company to sign Anthony because his potential impact on the Lakers would be limited at this point in his career and he won’t get a lot of minutes in Los Angeles with LeBron, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram getting most of the playing time at the forward positions.

Most of the top tier teams in the league, like Boston and Toronto for example, don’t need Anthony because they have more talented players in their respective front courts. The teams at the bottom of the standings probably don’t want an aging vet to steal minutes from younger players that need playing time to develop.

Houston’s best bet in finding a trade partner will probably be a team that’s thin at power forward looking to make a move that will catapult them from the middle of the pack into the top-tier. Although, Anthony has become a tough sell because he struggled so much during his time with the Rockets and Thunder and now both of those teams are playing better without him. Recently, Anthony’s former teams have seemed to benefit from his absence.

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The NBA’s trade deadline on Feb. 07 is steadily approaching as we prepare to enter the New Year, and the Rockets might have to use all of that time if they’re committed to finding a trade partner for Carmelo Anthony.