NBA Free Agency 2018: Rumors, Predictions on Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Smart, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 10, 2018

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony (7) looks to drive around Houston Rockets guard Gerald Green (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets are in need of a roster upgrade. 

After losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency, the Rockets must find a way to bolster their roster to keep up with the Golden State Warriors. 

Houston is hoping the savior of its offseason will be Carmelo Anthony, who is working his way out of his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Although the free-agent market has been relatively quiet since the wave of decisions by LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins and others were made, Anthony's departure from Oklahoma City is taking center stage, with the spotlight shining brightly on the Rockets. 

Elsewhere, a handful of the top restricted free agents remain on the market, but there appears to be some movement in their respective hunts to find a home for the 2018-19 NBA season. 

Below is a roundup of the latest rumors surrounding Anthony, Marcus Smart and others, as well as predictions on some of the top free agents available. 


Carmelo Anthony

James Harden and Chris Paul are looking to form a superteam of their own with Anthony, and although he might not be the ideal fit, he's about to become the best player available on the market. 

After losing Mbah a Moute to the Los Angeles Clippers Monday, the plan to go after Anthony became clearer for the Rockets. 

According to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets plan on ramping up their recruitment of Anthony to join the two stars already on their roster in an attempt to challenge Golden State.

The Thunder still have to figure out what they'll do with Anthony, but it'll either be a trade-and-buyout or waive-and-stretch plan, per Wojnarowski. 

If no trade partners emerge for Oklahoma City, it'll have to consider the second option, which saves the franchise $107 million in salary and tax and opens the door for the Rockets and a few other teams to pursue Anthony on the open market. 

Kyle Phillips/Associated Press

Miami is expected to make a run at the services of the 34-year-old as well, as he'd be a nice addition to a collection of decent parts in south Florida. 

However, the Rockets will put the full court press on the 10-time NBA All-Star no matter which concerns arise about Anthony's decline. 

Houston needs help at small forward following Ariza's move to Phoenix and Mbah a Moute's impending departure to Los Angeles. 

Anthony isn't an ideal fit for the Rockets because he brings less to the table defensively, but they are hoping he'll buy into the system and become a solid contributor in some form if he moves to Texas. 

Prediction: Houston goes all out in recruitment of Anthony, signs him after Oklahoma City waives him.


Marcus Smart

The market for Boston Celtics restricted free agent Marcus Smart could heat up in the coming days. 

No potential suitors came forward in the first week of free agency, but the Sacramento Kings could change the stagnant market for the 24-year-old, as they're preparing to put an offer on the table for Smart, per NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely: 

A. Sherrod Blakely @ASherrodblakely

Source: After striking out on Zach Levine, the Sacramento Kings are preparing to put together an offer #Celtics Marcus Smart.

The potential offer from the Kings comes days after they failed to bring in Zach LaVine, as the Chicago Bulls matched the offer sheet presented by Sacramento. 

The Kings can't persuade Smart to come to town with championship hopes because they'll be lucky just to make the playoffs in the competitive Western Conference. 

However, Sacramento could offer more playing time to Smart, who could be stuck deeper in the Boston rotation once Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are 100 percent.

If Sacramento doesn't enthuse Smart, he could always take the qualifying offer from the Celtics and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

All it comes down to now is how much Smart values getting paid compared to winning a championship. He could go for one more run at a title in Boston before cashing in next summer, or he could play it safe and go for the big contract this summer just in case his value drops in the next 12 months. 

Prediction: Smart receives offers, but eventually lands back in Boston and becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019. 


Rodney Hood

The Kings don't appear to be waiting for a single player at the moment, as they're seriously trying to add a veteran through free agency to join their young roster. 

Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Rodney Hood could be in play for the Kings, who displayed interest in the 25-year-old, but not enough to warrant an offer sheet yet, per Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. 

The Kings aren't the only team looking into Hood, as Yahoo's Jordan Schultz reported the Bulls are also in the mix along with the Cavaliers: 

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

Sources: #Bulls / #Kings remain in play for #Cavs’ RFA Rodney Hood. Hood, 25, would provide shooting for CHI - 26th in 3-pt % - and offense for SAC - dead last in scoring last year - after Zach LaVine’s offer sheet was matched by Bulls. 3-horse race for Hood: Cavs, Kings, Bulls.

Hood, who was uprooted from Utah in the three-way trade with the Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers in February, saw his role diminish throughout the run to the NBA Finals, but he's a scorer who can help any of his potential suitors. 

Hood averaged a career high 14.7 points per game this season, a total that was two points higher before he was traded from Utah to Cleveland. 

He's shown improvement in his game from season to season, and as a career 46.1 percent shooter, Hood should be able to provide an offensive boost wherever he lands. 

Cleveland isn't an ideal landing spot anymore because it is now a work in progress without James, and since Sacramento isn't in on Hood with Smart in the picture, the Bulls appear to be the best fit. 

If Hood is added to a group containing Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Wendell Carter Jr., the Bulls should contend for a playoff spot in the weakened Eastern Conference. 

Prediction: Hood receives offer sheet from Bulls and signs there after Cavaliers fail to match it.


Jabari Parker 

There have been plenty of winners on the free-agent market, but there appears to be one major loser at the moment. 

The market for restricted free agent Jabari Parker looks as dry as a desert, with few teams interested in his services, per RealGM's Keith Smith: 

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Asked around about Milwaukee Bucks RFA Jabari Parker too. One team exec that is not in the bidding for Parker said “Maybe Atlanta or Sacramento can get involved, but I don’t think they will. He may be one of the biggest losers of the summer for expected vs actual contract.”

Parker has every right to remain on the market as long as he wants in order to try to get an offer from another franchise, but right now all signs point to a return to Milwaukee. 

Although it's hard to find good news in the situation, Parker has the luxury of signing a qualifying offer from the Bucks.

If he opts to return to Milwaukee, Parker will have plenty of motivation to prove his doubters wrong before he hits the market as an unrestricted free agent next summer. 

The biggest key for Parker during the 2018-19 season is to stay healthy. As long as he's on the court, the 23-year-old has the potential to alleviate any concerns about his past injuries. 

Prediction: No suitors emerge for Parker and he signs qualifying offer from Bucks. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference