LAS VEGAS — There’s very little everyone seems to agree on at the NBA’s annual convention in the summer heat, disguised as Summer League. For example, as a combination of 15 executives, scouts or media members about what is up with Kawhi Leonard and you will get 15 different answers. To a lesser extent, the same is true of opinions on rookies here such as Trae Young or Deandre Ayton.
But there is one thing everyone seems to agree on:
Carmelo Anthony is going to be a Houston Rocket.
Everyone I have spoken to in Vegas sees this as bordering on inevitable. This note from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin added to that.
With the Bulls matching the offer on Zach LaVine, there is no reasonable trade destination for Anthony, so it’s only a question of what combination of buyout and stretch the Thunder and Anthony agree to. Once that happens, Anthony will start negotiating. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer put it this way.
Any other team I’ve heard mentioned usually came after something like “if things fell apart with Houston…”
There’s also a lot of questions about fit.
Anthony can still get buckets, and in that sense Houston can use him. He hit 35.7 percent from three last season, he can space the floor as a shooter, and the Rockets are am isolation heavy team, and isolations/post-ups accounted for 32.5 percent of Anthony’s possessions last season. He’s still reasonably efficient on those.
But Anthony still stops the ball on offense (Chris Paul and James Harden like isolation but pass out of it), and ‘Melo can’t defend well enough to just be plugged in for the Phoenix-bound Trevor Ariza or Clippers-bound Luc Mbah-a-Moute. Anthony will get targeted on switches and played off the floor at the end of games (as well as the playoffs).
Houston’s margin for error against the Warriors was already small, and it just got smaller.