Carmelo Anthony Rumors: 76ers Emerge with Lakers, Heat; Rockets Seen as Favorite

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DECEMBER 25: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets blocks Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half of a NBA  game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on December 25, 2017 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Thunder defeated the Rockets 112-107. 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. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
J Pat Carter/Getty Images

With Carmelo Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder expected to part ways soon, a list of potential suitors has emerged, and one team appears to be the front-runner.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor noted Sunday night that executives around the league view the Houston Rockets as favorites to land Anthony. ESPN's Dave McMenamin reported that Anthony's business manager, Bay Frazier, spent time during the Rockets-Golden State Warriors summer league game Sunday sitting with Houston personnel, including coach Mike D'Antoni and Chris Paul. Yahoo Sports' Jordan Schultz added that Paul is pushing his team to acquire the star.

The Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly other teams to keep an eye on.

Not long after Anthony exercised his $27.9 million player option for the 2018-19 season, ESPN's Adrian Wojnaroswki and Royce Young reported that a breakup is in the works. They noted that OKC is exploring the trade market and will consider a buyout coupled with the stretch provision if no trade can be found.

Between his salary and the luxury-tax implications, dumping Anthony could save the Thunder more than $100 million, per Wojnarowski and Young.

Oklahoma City traded for the 10-time All-Star last September in hopes that he, Russell Westbrook and Paul George could lead the team to a championship. It was a bumpy season that ended with the Thunder being eliminated by the Utah Jazz in the opening round of the playoffs. 

Anthony averaged career lows in minutes (32.1), scoring (16.2 points per game), field-goal percentage (40.4) and free-throw percentage (76.7) during the regular season. His 5.8 rebounds per game were his lowest since his second year in the league.

While the 34-year-old's overall numbers may not be up to his standards, he could still be a fit in Houston. He made a career-high 169 three-pointers last season while shooting 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Rockets finished with the No. 2 scoring offense in the league as they attempted more triples than two-pointers.

The biggest question would be whether Anthony and D'Antoni could co-exist. The two were together for one-plus season in New York. D'Antoni told ESPN The Magazine's Tim Keown that he quit the Knicks gig over drama with the forward.

Anthony may be on the back end of his career, but if the former No. 3 overall pick is willing to accept a reduced role in order to chase a championship, he could find himself in a good situation next season.

Related

    AD (Shoulder) 'Good to Play' in ASG

    NBA logo
    NBA

    AD (Shoulder) 'Good to Play' in ASG

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Morey Playfully Offers Ray Allen a 10-day Contract on Twitter

    Houston Rockets logo
    Houston Rockets

    Morey Playfully Offers Ray Allen a 10-day Contract on Twitter

    David MacKay
    via Rockets Wire

    Tatum: 'We're Going to Win the Finals This Year'

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Tatum: 'We're Going to Win the Finals This Year'

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report

    Youngsters on the Edge of All-Star Status ⭐️

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Youngsters on the Edge of All-Star Status ⭐️

    Adam Fromal
    via Bleacher Report