Now that the free-agency period has begun, the Houston Rockets are trying to add the necessary pieces to become a serious championship contender in the Western Conference, and there are a few rumors currently surrounding the organization.
The Rockets are coming off a 54-28 season, but are looking to make a deeper run in the playoffs after a disappointing exit in the first round. They have key pieces in place with James Harden and Dwight Howard, but they're looking to take the next step by adding another star player.
Below are just a few of the latest rumors surrounding the Rockets at the beginning of free agency.
Rockets Could Bring Back Chandler Parsons
During his first few seasons in the NBA, Chandler Parsons was arguably one of the most underpaid players in the association. However, now that the Rockets declined his option for the 2014-15 season, he'll finally have a chance to get paid the money he deserves.
After making just under $2.5 million in his first three seasons, Parsons will now be looking for a bigger deal, and he's going to have plenty of teams going after him.
However, the Rockets are interested in bringing him back, according to Marc J. Spears from Yahoo Sports, but there are others interested as well, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks.
Parsons is currently a free agent, which means that the Rockets will have the option to match any offer he's given. The 25-year-old is excited to be a free agent, but he has admitted that he enjoys playing in Houston. Parsons told Jonathan Feigen from the Houston Chronicle:
All I can say now is I’m excited about the chance to be a free agent and go through this process. Restricted is obviously more difficult than unrestricted, but I’m excited to have this opportunity a year earlier (than scheduled) and see what happens. I love it in Houston, love Coach (Kevin) McHale.
With 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, Parsons had the best season of his short career so far, and while he may be a backup plan for the Rockets if they can't find another big name at small forward, he's bound to finally make quite a bit of money, regardless of where he goes.
Kyle Lowry Likely Not Coming to Houston
Despite having two decent options at the position, the Rockets lack a true starting-caliber point guard to play over Patrick Beverley and Jeremy Lin. The Rockets almost had a very promising one in Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, but it now looks like acquiring him will no longer be an option.
After there were early rumors of the Rockets trying to acquire Lowry from the Raptors, ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted that the deal is dead because Toronto was unwilling to do a sign-and-trade because they want to keep the 28-year-old.
Source: Forget Kyle Lowry to Houston. Rockets wanted sign & trade but Toronto won't deal bc they want to keep Lowry— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 1, 2014
It's not surprising that the Rockets would be interested in Lowry. He had arguably the best season of his career, averaging 17.9 points, 7.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. According to ESPN.com, his player efficiency rating of 20.20 was the fifth-best among point guards, ahead of names like Kyrie Irving, Mike Conley and John Wall.
However, the Raptors seem determined to keep Lowry. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Toronto may have already locked up their star point guard.
RE: rumbles Raptors already on verge of locking up Kyle Lowry ... all I can pass along is undeniable confidence from Raps about keeping him— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 30, 2014
The Rockets will likely be looking for another point guard over the next few weeks, but they're going to have to look elsewhere since the Raptors won't budge.
Carmelo Anthony to Meet with Rockets on Wednesday
While the Rockets are looking at plenty of free agents, there might not be a bigger target that Houston is currently focusing on than Carmelo Anthony, as it'll be looking to do whatever it takes to add a third superstar to its franchise.
Now that the free-agency period has begun, Anthony is already starting to make his visits with multiple teams. According to Marc Stein, the Rockets will likely be the second team Anthony meets with, saying:
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.
Marc J. Spears also notes that Howard will likely be at the meeting to answer any questions Carmelo may have.
Rockets Dwight Howard will attend Carmelo Anthony's meeting in Houston tomorrow to answer questions from a player's perspective, source said— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 1, 2014
The Bulls and Rockets seem to be the top-two teams for Carmelo considering the current state of their franchises as potential title contenders.
However, the argument can be made that the Rockets would be more ready to take that step. They already have two top-tier players in Harden and Howard, and with Derrick Rose's health constantly in question, Houston could arguably be the safer team to go to.
As of right now, the Rockets don't really have the cap space to make a deal with Carmelo, even after trading away Omer Asik. However, if they can trade away Lin, who is set to count for $8.3 million against the cap this season, then they'll have much more room with which to work.
It's still unclear where Carmelo will end up, but if the Rockets can have a productive meeting on Wednesday, they may be able to convince the superstar to take his talents to Houston.
All contract information provided by Spotrac.