With the Houston Rockets expecting to sign Brooklyn Nets big man Kenneth Faried after he agreed to a contract buyout, a new report from ESPN suggests that the team is working hard to trade their major acquisition of the past offseason, Carmelo Anthony, in order to make way for the veteran forward/center.
In a report published Saturday, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that the Rockets are hoping to immediately give Faried playing time as a “stopgap” big man in the absence of starting center Clint Capela, who is expected to miss several weeks of action as he undergoes surgery on his right thumb. Faried, a former first-round draft pick who was once a reliable rebounder and defender for the Denver Nuggets, was acquired by the Nets in the 2018 offseason but has been sparingly used since then, averaging just 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 12 games this season, per CBS Sports.
As Faried’s 2018-19 salary of $13.7 million will likely be clearing waivers on Monday, the Houston Rockets are now “aggressively working” to get Carmelo Anthony traded to another team before 5 p.m. ET on that same day. While Houston could also waive Anthony in order to make room for Faried, Wojnarowski’s unnamed league sources added that the Rockets do not plan to take that route, should they choose to part ways with the 10-time All-Star in the coming days. The team, however, is trying to come up with a way to have Faried ready to play by Monday night, when the Rockets will be facing the Philadelphia 76ers.
If the Rockets aren’t able to find a trade partner for Anthony by the Monday deadline and choose not to waive him, the team could choose to release backup forward James Nunnally, who signed a 10-day contract with Houston on January 16. According to ESPN, Nunnally won’t need to go through the waiver wire if the Rockets cut him by Monday.
As of this writing, it has been more than two months since Carmelo Anthony last played for the Houston Rockets. After signing a one-year, $2.4 million contract with the team in the summer of 2018, Anthony played just 10 games for the Rockets, averaging a career-low 13.4 points and shooting only 40.5 percent from the field, per Bleacher Report. One week after his last game, where he scored two points and shot 1-for-11 against his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, on November 8, Anthony was deactivated by the Rockets, who announced in a statement that they would be “parting ways” with the 34-year-old small forward.
If he ends up formally signing with the Rockets, Kenneth Faried will be expected to split minutes at the center position with fellow veteran Nene until Clint Capela is cleared to return, ESPN wrote. He averaged 11.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in his first seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets, where he was mostly used as a starting power forward.