Carmelo Anthony says Dwight Howard “tried extremely hard” to recruit him to Houston

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In the end Carmelo Anthony chose the extra $30 million and the responsibility of begin the cornerstone of the New York Knicks when faced with free agency last summer. But the Bulls were in the mix as an option, while the Lakers got his attention as well.

Then there was Houston — the Rockets went hard at Anthony but missed. (Then they thought they had Chris Bosh locked up until Pat Riley changed the equation with his money.) There was some logic there because Anthony’s scoring with Dwight Howard in the paint and James Harden as the guard had real potential.

And Howard worked hard behind the scenes to make it happen, Carmelo Anthony said in advance of the Knicks facing the Rockets for the first time this season, as reported by Marc Berman at the New York Post.

“We had some great dialogue back and forth,’’ Anthony said of his discussions with Howard. “I talked to him. We talked about some things. Ultimately it came down to what I really felt and really wanted at that moment. We had some contact and conversations. He tried. He tried extremely hard. It didn’t have anything to do with Dwight or James [Harden]. It came down to my own personal decision.’’

Some fans look at Anthony’s 4-10 Knicks compared to the 10-3 Rockets and think ‘Melo regrets his choice. Not so much.

“Of course I know they’re playing very well,’’ Anthony said. “[But] it’s not something I say to myself: ‘I regret doing this, regret doing that.’ I can’t do that. It’s not my nature as a person. I would never sit down and ask myself: ‘What if?’ ’’

Few players do. Anthony made his choice and has moved on. We all knew that there were better basketball fits for Anthony during his free agency but that other factors were at play. Did he want to uproot his family from New York? Did he trust Phil Jackson? Oh, and there was the guaranteed dollars (Anthony took a bit of a discount but it still works out to $27 million more guaranteed).

A lot of people may try to read into this that “nobody wants to play with Dwight Howard” but as always there are a lot of other factors in play. In this case, 27 million factors.

Anthony made his choice, and now Howard has to recruit another third star to Houston. Which when looking at the up and coming free agent market is far easier said than done.

That said, the ‘Meloless rockets are 10-3.