As expected, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young reported today that Carmelo Anthony and the Thunder are likely going to part ways this offseason. This will save the Oklahoma City Thunder over $100 million.
ESPN Sources with @royceyoung: Oklahoma City, Carmelo Anthony will part ways this summer, likely saving team over $100M. Thunder working with 'Melo's reps on exits that include trade, stretch provision. Story: https://t.co/mJbxINv2Cd
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2018
This all leads to the next question… Where will Carmelo Anthony’s next destination be? I’m sure I’m probably going to get a lot of readers that say “Carmelo’s done! He’s a cancer to a team.” Let me just say… I’m a huge Carmelo Anthony fan. As a Knick fan, I’d trade for Carmelo in 2011 100 times out of 100 if I had a choice to go back in time. The guy made the Knicks revenant for a short period of time, and it was an amazing time as a fan.
Despite the season that Carmelo Anthony had last year with the Thunder (career low 16.2 PPG and career low 40.4 FG%), I still think the guy has a bit left in the tank.
My first thought when I heard this news was that he was going to join LeBron in Los Angeles with the Lakers. Then, I started to realize that with the Lakers’ depth, Carmelo isn’t guaranteed to have much of a role at all there. The perfect destination for Carmelo Anthony is the Houston Rockets.
Earlier this week, Trevor Ariza signed with the Phoenix Suns, leaving the Rockets small forward spot wide open. That’s a huge loss, because Ariza was the perfect 3 and D player for Houston. Carmelo Anthony can come in and be a spot up shooter for them. He’ll give them more than the offensive production of Ariza when it comes to that small forward spot. The Rockets score a million points per game, which makes me think Carmelo could fit right in.
It will probably only take the veteran’s minimum (or a just a tad more) to get Carmelo as well, as he is slated to make $27 million this year. That’s getting paid to him by the Thunder in a buy out, which means he won’t require more than a few million dollars for one season.
It would make sense for the Rockets to also bring in a lockdown defender at small forward as well, which will give them flexibility for certain matchups, and flexibility if the Melo experiment is not working. This could be as simple as re-signing Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Carmelo Anthony is extremely close with Chris Paul, so I think that CP3 should be able to talk Melo’s ego down a bit, and make sure he’s not taking shots away from him and James Harden.
I’d love to see Carmelo Anthony make the NBA Finals, and his best chance to get significant minutes while doing that would be by signing with the Rockets. Make it happen Daryl Morey.