When he won his first Most Valuable Player award, Houston Rockets superstar James Harden was asked if they need to go after LeBron James in free agency. Without any hesitation, Harden said that the Rockets don’t need to further improve their roster, believing they have the capability to win an NBA championship. The first week of the 2018 NBA free agency concluded with James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Meanwhile, the Rockets succeeded in re-signing Chris Paul, but they ended up losing Trevor Ariza to the Phoenix Suns and Luc Mbah a Moute to the Los Angeles Clippers. The departure of Ariza and Mbah a Moute is undeniably a huge loss for the Rockets, leaving them a hole to fill at the wing. Both players played a major role in the Rockets’ success last season.
That’s when James Harden changed his stance. As of now, Harden must be aware that the Western Conference just got tougher now that LeBron James is playing for the Lakers. The reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, also just got stronger with the acquisition of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in free agency.
The Rockets are currently linked to Carmelo Anthony, who was recently traded to the Atlanta Hawks and is expected to be waived in the coming days. In the last few months, Houston emerged as the top destination for Anthony once he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Since the start of the 2018 NBA offseason, Chris Paul, Melo’s close pal and member of the Banana Boat Crew, has been actively recruiting Anthony to their team.
In a recent interview, James Harden admitted that he hasn’t been in touch with Carmelo Anthony, but he said that he is excited to have the 10-time NBA All-Star on their team next season.
“He’d be a great acquisition for us,” Harden said, via Amico Hoops. “He’s a proven vet, he wants to win at this point. With our roster we have now, we have good guys coming back. We need to keep making forward progress.”
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) July 20, 2018
Though Carmelo Anthony is not as good defender as Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, he could give the Rockets a reliable third scoring option behind James Harden and Chris Paul. Anthony struggled in his first season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he can still contribute for the Rockets on the offensive end of the floor. In the 78 games he played last season, the 34-year-old small forward averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds on 40.4 percent shooting from the field, and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Aside from signing Anthony, the Rockets are still in contract negotiations with center Clint Capela. Houston has already made an initial offer, but Capela continues to insist that he deserves a better deal.