The Houston Rockets pulled off a stunner Wednesday when they agreed to trade for Chris Paul in a blockbuster with the Los Angeles Clippers, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, and they reportedly aren't done pursuing stars.
Shortly after news of the blockbuster broke, Stephen A. Smith appeared on SportsCenter (h/t WDSU's Fletcher Mackel) and intimated the Rockets could be the front-runners for Carmelo Anthony if he secures a buyout from the New York Knicks.
That idea appealed to impending free agent point guard Brandon Jennings, who noted Anthony would be free to roam around the perimeter while Paul and Harden dominate the ball:
ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t FanSided's Clevis Murray) added the Rockets have been in pursuit of Paul George for two weeks and could continue to target him as they attempt to load up and compete with the Golden State Warriors.
When it comes to Anthony, who has two years and $54 million remaining on his deal, the Rockets will have to be in wait-and-see mode.
Acquiring a contract of that size isn't feasible for the Rockets since they already have Harden and Paul on the books, meaning they would need to secure Anthony's services on the buyout market.
But as ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reported Wednesday, the Knicks are not intent on placating Anthony. Owner James Dolan and former team president Phil Jackson disagreed on that topic to such a degree that their differences intensified talks about a split.
"Jackson, 71, had made it well known that he felt it was best for Anthony and the organization to part ways, both publicly and privately, but Anthony refused to waive his no-trade clause, and the Knicks were determined not to accommodate any request for a buyout," Shelburne wrote.
On the George front, the Rockets will have to collect enough assets or rope in a third team to complete a trade that appeases the Indiana Pacers.
In advance of the draft, the Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner reported the Los Angeles Lakers offered Indiana pick Nos. 27 and 28 along with either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson for George. The Pacers rebuffed that offer as they pursued a bigger haul, per Stein, and talks stalled.
The Boston Celtics have also reportedly been in hot pursuit of George.
On Tuesday, Wojnarowski reported the Celtics were working to secure a commitment from free agent Gordon Hayward and net George in a trade with the Pacers to bolster their superstar stockpile.