For many NBA fans, it was only a matter of time. With Carmelo Anthony having cleared waivers at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, all signs are pointing to the 10-time NBA All-Star officially signing with the Houston Rockets, just as many had been expecting.
In a tweet posted late on Wednesday afternoon, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that the 34-year-old Anthony just passed through waivers, which means he is now free to agree to a one-year, $2.4 million contract with the Houston Rockets. This would allow him to join a starting lineup that currently features guards Chris Paul and James Harden and recently re-signed center Clint Capela, as well as a power forward rotation that features three-point specialist Ryan Anderson and defensive stalwart P.J. Tucker. Anthony is also expected to serve as a replacement for small forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, who left via free agency this summer to respectively join the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.
News of Carmelo Anthony clearing waivers and moving a step closer to signing with the Houston Rockets came two days after he was officially waived by the Atlanta Hawks, according to NBA.com. Last month, the Hawks acquired Anthony in a trade that sent Atlanta point guard Dennis Schroder to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a deal that many believed would pave the way for Anthony becoming a free agent after one subpar season in Oklahoma City. Anthony, who enters the 2018-19 NBA season with career averages of 24.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, averaged a career-low 16.2 points for the Thunder in 2017-18 as he was the team’s third option on offense behind Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
In an additional move to freshen up its lineup after falling one game short of the NBA Finals in the 2017-18 NBA season, the Houston Rockets also traded backup center Chinanu Onuaku to the Dallas Mavericks for a 2020 second-round pick, Wojnarowski added.
Although Carmelo Anthony’s one-year deal with the Houston Rockets will make him the team’s most important addition in the current offseason, recent reports suggest that the team is also seeking to add depth to its backcourt, which features Eric Gordon as the team’s high-scoring sixth man but few other players of note. According to the Express, which cited recent comments from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the team is looking to trade for either one of two veteran shooting guards, with one potential deal sending Ryan Anderson to the Atlanta Hawks for Kent Bazemore, and the other allowing J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the team.