Carmelo Anthony is not headed to the Nets after New Jersey's owner decided to stop pursuing the All-Star forward.
Before the Anthony-to-New Jersey deal appeared to be a certainty, the Houston Rockets were one of the teams mentioned as a possible landing spot. Now that the Nets are out of the Anthony sweepstakes, could the Rockets jump back into the mix?
Here are five reasons they could land Anthony and five reasons they won't land him.
Where will Anthony land? Let us know what you think.
Carmelo's contract number is $17.15 million. That is a tough number to match for most teams, but the Rockets have Yao Ming's contract at $17.69 million.
However, I am not convinced that the Rockets want to deal Yao's contract because they think he might be back at some point, and they don't want to lose him.
I also don't think the Nuggets want to acquire a big contract knowing that person would never play a game in a Denver uniform.
Houston general manager Daryl Morey is generally considered one of the smartest and savviest GMs in the NBA.
If there was someone who could get a deal completed for Melo, Morey could be that guy.
There is a little known rule in the NBA prohibiting teams from trading away first-round picks in multiple seasons. Houston already made a trade giving away their first rounder in 2012.
So if the Rockets were going to make a play on Carmelo, the Nuggets would not get a first-round draft pick for the forward until 2014. Sure that pick could come in handy, but selling a three-year wait to your fan base is not an easy thing to do.
The Rockets currently rank in the top 10 in points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game. The only area where they have been really deficient is on the defensive side of the ball.
While Carmelo isn't a defensive force, he helps.
Carmelo gets up for games against the best players in the league. So when Houston plays the Lakers or the Heat, Carmelo could be a huge addition.
For some reason, the Nuggets signed Al Harrington to a contract this offseason that they are already trying to dump.
The Harrington contract piece is what ended up killing the deal to the Nets because the Nuggets insisted that he be included in any deal for Carmelo. Well, that piece could end up killing a deal to Houston or really anywhere.
Currently Houston sits in 10th place in the Western Conference and three games out of a playoff spot.
If the Rockets made a play for Carmelo, they could end up swapping places with the Nuggets, who are currently seventh in the standings.
With a lineup that Houston would be able to put together in the playoffs, I sure wouldn't want to face them.
One big stumbling block, probably the biggest, is the fact that Carmelo is going to be a free agent at the end of this season unless he signs a contract extension wherever he is traded.
I highly doubt that Carmelo is going to sign an extension to be in Houston.
Basically, the Rockets would be making a trade for a three-month rental.
If the Nuggets hope to get something for Carmelo, they are going to have to trade him before the trade deadline, otherwise they will be getting nothing for him when he leaves this summer.
Honestly, Carmelo is going to get traded before the deadline, so he has to go somewhere. Why not Houston?
Carmelo has made no secrets about his desire to play in either Los Angeles or New York. Some people have said that his wife Lala is the one that is pushing Carmelo in a certain direction, but he is a big city guy that wants to make an impact in a big city.
Houston is not anywhere close to LA or New York.
With New Jersey dropping out of the Carmelo sweepstakes, there are a lack of other teams trying to acquire the star forward.
Along with the Knicks and the Rockets, the other teams that have been mentioned as possible landing spots are the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers.
If Houston can put together a package attractive enough, he would likely be headed there.
Honestly, I think there are too many stumbling blocks that would prevent the Rockets from landing Carmelo. Mostly the fact that Carmelo won't sign an extension there.
If I were a betting man, I would put my money on Carmelo playing in New York next year. However, I wish he would give more thought to the Clippers.
Possible (Unlikely) Trade Using the NBA Trade Machine:
Rasual Butler's expiring contract
Brian Cook's expiring contract
Craig Smith's expiring contract
Minnesota's 2012 first round pick