After losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency, the Houston Rockets are currently active on the market, looking for their new swingmen. It will only be a matter of time before Carmelo Anthony joins the Rockets as according to USA Today Sports, the 10-time NBA All-Star has verbally agreed to sign with Houston after clearing waivers with the Atlanta Hawks. However, the nearing acquisition of Anthony will not be the end of the Rockets’ pursuit of a wing.
Carmelo Anthony will undeniably give the Rockets a boost on the offensive end of the floor, but he does not have the capability to replicate Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute’s performance on the defensive end. According to Kelly Iko of Rockets Wire (h/t Sporting News), the Rockets and the Atlanta Hawks could explore a trade deal centered on Kent Bazemore.
The Hawks are reportedly willing to absorb Ryan Anderson’s contract if the Rockets are willing to attach a young player and a future first-round pick. Iko suggested that the Rockets could send a trade package including Anderson, De’Anthony Melton, and a 2019 first-round pick to the Hawks for Kent Bazemore.
“Atlanta would be open to taking Ryan Anderson’s remaining $41 million back, but would need draft pick + one of Houston’s young guys. A package of Anderson, Melton and a 2019 first might be enough to get a deal done, but Houston is high on Melton and his upside.”
Source: Rockets still active in trade market looking for defensive wings, have interest in Kent Bazemore https://t.co/NeLRiuDXdq— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) July 31, 2018
The Rockets will definitely not mind parting ways with De’Anthony Melton and a 2019 first-round pick if it will enable them to clear Ryan Anderson’s lucrative contract off the books and acquire a defensive-minded player like Kent Bazemore. It’s worth noting that the Rockets have been targeting Bazemore since the 2016 NBA free agency. Bazemore will undeniably be the perfect replacement for Trevor Ariza in the wing. In 65 games he played last season, the 29-year-old shooting guard averaged 12.9 point, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals on 42 percent shooting from the field and 39.4 percent from beyond the arc.
However, Iko revealed that the Milwaukee Bucks are also interested in adding Kent Bazemore to their team. Fortunately for the Rockets, the trade negotiation between the Bucks and the Hawks have failed to materialize.
“Kent Bazemore’s list of suitors also includes Milwaukee, who recently contacted the Hawks but initial trade talks didn’t get very far. Kent loves Atlanta, but would be open to a move to HOU/MIL since he knows both coaches well and would be joining a contender.”
Bazemore is reportedly open to being traded to either the Rockets or the Bucks since it will give him the opportunity to play for a legitimate title contender. At 29, Bazemore doesn’t want to spend his prime on a rebuilding team like the Hawks.