Carmelo Anthony Rumors: Rockets 'Determined' to Sign SF After Thunder Departure

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2018

Oklahoma City Thunder's Carmelo Anthony warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets are continuing to set their sights on Carmelo Anthony, with his days almost certainly numbered with the Oklahoma City Thunder, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday.

Wojnarowski and colleague Royce Young reported the Thunder are working with Anthony's representatives to finalize his departure from the team.

According to Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Clippers agreed to a one-year deal with Luc Mbah a Moute on Monday, leaving the Rockets without two of their top forwards from this past season. Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania reported Trevor Ariza agreed to a one-year, $15 million deal with the Phoenix Suns.

Yahoo Sports' Jordan Schultz reported Rockets point guard Chris Paul is "advocating" for the team to add Anthony this summer. ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin reported Paul and head coach Mike D'Antoni were among those talking with Anthony's business manager during an NBA Summer League game Sunday:

Losing Ariza was a big blow for the Rockets because he was the perimeter defender needed to handle the Golden State Warriors on the perimeter. Signing Anthony would arguably make things even worse.

The Thunder split their regular-season series with the Warriors in 2017-18. In those four games, Oklahoma City had a minus-2.2 net rating when Anthony was on the court, per NBA.com. Just as worrying, Anthony's net rating was minus-14.3 in the Thunder's opening-round playoff loss to the Utah Jazz.

If the Jazz can successfully exploit Anthony so as to make him unplayable, imagine what the Warriors could do over a seven-game series.

Houston was within a game of eliminating Golden State in the Western Conference Finals, and it might have been able to clinch the series were it not for Paul's hamstring injury.

Based on this offseason, the gulf between the Rockets and Warriors might be growing larger, though.

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