On the eve of the beginning of the free-agency period officially starting, the buzz around the league is still hot and heavy.
Names like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are at the top of everyone's list, but just two franchises—or maybe one—will come away with them. The Houston Rockets hope to be one of those lucky teams to form their own trio to contend in the Western Conference.
Just below the two top-tier free agents is a group of stars who might land in Houston this summer. Names like Trevor Ariza and Chandler Parsons are reportedly interested in playing for the Rockets next summer with both having other suitors all over the league.
With free agency officially kicking off on Tuesday, here's a look at the latest rumors on potential targets for the Rockets.
Carmelo Anthony Meeting with Rockets Brass on Wednesday
Easily the biggest real hope for the Rockets, Anthony appears to be interested in signing with the Rockets this summer.
Though Houston isn't the first stop on his whirlwind tour around the NBA landscape, he will venture out to the Lone Star State during the second day of free agency. Marc Stein of ESPN provides the latest details about Anthony's free agent plans:
Sources told ESPN.com that Anthony is in the process of arranging a trip to Chicago to meet with the Bulls, then intends to travel to Texas for Wednesday meetings with both the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks.
Sources say Anthony is likely to visit the Rockets first on Wednesday, followed by the Mavericks in the afternoon.
Stein goes on to say that the Los Angeles Lakers are also a part of his tour around the NBA. Though the Rockets aren't his first stop, the fact that he'll be in Houston during the first week of free agency has to be a comforting feeling for the fanbase.
The biggest selling point for Houston in comparison to the other franchises? They are a true contender with just one missing piece. Sure, the Chicago Bulls can say the same, but with the health of Derrick Rose constantly a question, there's nothing promised in the Windy City.
Rockets Still in the Mix for Chandler Parsons; Might Sign-and-Trade
Despite the Rockets having several options on the free-agent market, one notable target is a player they know plenty about.
Parsons has emerged as a star in the West with the Rockets, averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and four assists for Houston last season. Unfortunately, the rest of the league noticed his star potential and want to add him this summer.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports the latest on Parsons' offseason plans:
The Rockets are interested in re-signing Parsons, league sources said, but his future could also be affected by what happens to Golden State Warriors forward Klay Thompson and New York Knicks free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony.
... The Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks have primary interest in signing Anthony as a free agent, but also could chase Parsons if they don't, a source said.
Though there are several other teams in the running, the Rockets might have the upperhand after taking him out of Florida in the second round. Falling to the 38th pick in the 2011 draft, Parsons has more than lived up to his selection slot and might be looking to spend the rest of his career in Houston.
One other option was brought up by Darren Wolfson of KSTP in Minneapolis:
Either option could make for good value for Houston, but clearly, keeping him in a Rockets uniform would be the preferred choice. Having his three-point shooting skills along with the inside presence of Howard makes Houston a deadly offensive team.
Houston on the List for Trevor Ariza
Potentially a fall-back plan if they lose Parsons in free agency, Ariza might just be an option for the Rockets this summer.
While they play at different forward positions, both players are accurate from behind the arc with Ariza shooting at a .407 clip during the regular season last year. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo provides the latest on Ariza's options this offseason:
Much like Houston with Parsons, the Wizards might have the best chance at locking in Ariza for the future. Both franchises are on the upswing with Washington competing in a mostly weak Eastern Conference that consists of two true championship contenders.
Whichever team with which he decides to sign will have a crucial piece that would make an impact in either conference. After 10 seasons in the NBA, Ariza is now a coveted player with several options on the table. The Rockets hope they are at the top of his list.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter:
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!