Carmelo Anthony, Rockets Reportedly Agree to Contract After Hawks Buyout

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 23:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on during the game against the Utah Jazz in Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2018 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony is moving on to his fourth franchise in less than a year.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reported Anthony has agreed to terms on a contract with the Houston Rockets. According to Charania, Anthony told the Rockets he would sign with them after returning from Africa.

This comes after the Atlanta Hawks bought him out following a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this summer.

After the New York Knicks traded him last offseason, Anthony's time in OKC as part of a big three (with Russell Westbrook and Paul George) did not go as planned.

He averaged career-lows in points (16.2), shooting percentage (40.4 percent), free-throw percentage (76.7 percent) and assists (1.3). His 5.8 rebounds per game were his lowest since 2005-06, his third year in the league.

And while the regular season was tough enough on him, the postseason really put him under the microscope.

In a first-round loss to the Utah Jazz, the 6'8", 240-pound forward averaged just 11.8 points on 37.5-percent shooting (including 21.4 percent from beyond the arc), 5.7 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 32.3 minutes. 

Down the stretch, it was not uncommon for the 10-time All-Star to find himself on the bench in crucial moments. The thought of being a bench player was something he laughed at prior to the season, but it was essentially a reality by the time season wrapped up.

Anthony made it clear during his exit interview, though, that he will not accept a bench role (around the 6:28 mark):

That was a stance he reiterated to Jemele Hill of The Undefeated in late July, saying he won't come off the bench until he's "ready to take that role." 

Once Anthony exercised his player option, OKC decided he was not worth the hefty price tag. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowkski reported that between salary and luxury tax implications, the Thunder would likely save more than $100 million by cutting ties with the veteran.

When news broke in early July that Anthony would likely be moving on, two teams stood out above all others: the Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Anthony is close friends with both Chris Paul and LeBron James, and at this point, he is still chasing that elusive championship ring. Perhaps what made Houston the most attractive is the fact that Paul and James Harden are still trying to become champions for the first time as well, giving the team a core of hungry veterans.

Not to mention the fact that the Rockets were just one win away from knocking off the eventual champs and reaching the NBA Finals.

Anthony's overall numbers from a season ago indicate he had a down year. While that may be true, he did hit a career-high 169 triples. That makes him a strong fit into Mike D'Antoni's system.

Last season, the Rockets attempted more three-pointers than two-pointers and attempted in excess of 500 more shots from deep than the next closest team. His three-point percentage (35.7) falls right in line with Houston (36.2) as a unit. 

It will be interesting to see, though, if Anthony and D'Antoni can jell. They previously spent time together in New York before D'Antoni quit over drama with the forward, via ESPN The Magazine's Tim Keown.

The Washington Post's Tim Bontemps reported in early July that D'Antoni would be fine with a reunion.

Houston has lost a couple of key defensive pieces in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute during free agency this offseason. While Anthony may not bring much to the table in that regard, the Rockets are hoping that his offense can help the team overcome any defensive issues. 

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