Carmelo Anthony Trade Rumors: Are the Houston Rockets Back in the Mix?

Ross ColemanAnalyst IJanuary 20, 2011

Carmelo Anthony Trade Rumors: Are the Houston Rockets Back in the Mix?

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets takes a free throw against the Miami Heat at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 130-102. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.

5. No: Rockets Would Need To Use Yao Ming Contract Piece

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets looks on during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agre
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    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.

5. Yes: Houston Has a Smart GM Who Could Complete a Deal

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    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.  

4. No: Houston Already Traded 2012 First-Round Pick

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts as the ball goes out of bounds against the Miami Heat at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 130-102. NOTE TO USER: User express
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.

4. Yes: Houston Needs Defensive Help

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots in front of Shane Battier #31 of the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on January 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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.

3. No: The Al Harrington Piece

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 16:  Al Harrington #7 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball against the New York Knicks at the Pepsi Center on November 16, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Knicks 120-118. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges an
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.

3. Yes: Could Get Back into Contention with Carmelo

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 5:   Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets shoots against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 5, 2011  in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading a
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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.

2. No: Not Going to Sign an Extension There

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Chauncey Billups #1 and Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets look on during a break in the action against the Miami Heat at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 130-102. NOT
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.

2. Yes: Needs to Go Somewhere

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball upcourt against the Miami Heat at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 130-102. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowled
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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?

1. No: Houston Is Not Los Angeles or New York

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets fights to drive through Baron Davis #5 and Ryan Gomes #15 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 5, 2011  in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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.

1. Yes: Lack of Other Suitors

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets watches on against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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.

Conclusion: Is Houston a Likely Landing Spot?

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 5:  A fan anticipating a possible impending trade wears a New York Knicks jersey with the first name and number of Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets during the game withthe Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on Januar
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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:

    Clippers get:

    Carmelo

    Harrington

    Nuggets get:

    Al-Farouq Aminu

    Chris Kaman

    Rasual Butler's expiring contract

    Brian Cook's expiring contract

    Craig Smith's expiring contract

    Minnesota's 2012 first round pick