Carmelo Anthony could be headed to the Houston Rockets, and possibly to the next phase of his career.
After a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder freed up Anthony to be a free agent, a number of NBA experts believe that he will need to accept a bench role in order to further his career and help his new team. As Bleacher Report noted, the Rockets are heavily in contention to land Anthony — and that was reported to be his preferred destination — but there could be some growing pains for Anthony once he lands there.
Near the end of his tenure with the Thunder, Anthony publicly bristled at the idea that he need to move from the starting lineup to the bench.
“I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” Anthony told reporters after the Thunder were bounced from the NBA playoffs (via ESPN’s Royce Young). “So that’s out of the question.”
But before Carmelo Anthony hit free agency, Sports Illustrated writer Rohan Nadkarni noted that Anthony’s dropoff in offensive efficiency along with his career-long struggles on defense make him a better candidate for the sixth man in Houston rather than a starting forward.
“The Rockets were in the mix for Anthony last summer, and the team could take a flier on him if he gets bought out. Again, role will be important here. Subbing in Anthony for the departed Trevor Ariza would be a mistake, as the drop off in defense would likely be staggering. Anthony, who makes most sense as a power forward, also wouldn’t be a good fit next to Anderson, who was a key factor in Houston’s second most-used lineup last year. However, if Melo is willing to come off the bench, he would likely fare better. With the way the Rockets stagger Paul and James Harden, Melo would still be sharing the floor with another superstar.”
The Houston Rockets have seen their Western Conference competition grow stronger in this offseason, with LeBron James moving to the Los Angeles Lakers and DeMarcus Cousins picking up a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. After the Rockets reached the doorstep of the NBA Finals last season only to collapse in a seven-game defeat at the hands of the Warriors, many believe that the addition of Carmelo Anthony could help offset the losses of Trevor Ariza and help the Rockets finally get over the hump.
It may require some more work to figure out exactly where Carmelo Anthony fits into the mix, however.