It may be the NBA‘s offseason, but a wild free-agency period, packed with player movement in the form of signings and trades, has kept the league firmly in the news cycle.
Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, D’Angelo Russell, Ricky Rubio, Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap are just a few of the names of players who’ve changed teams this summer. A few front offices are still dealing.
Unsurprisingly, the generally aggressive Daryl Morey is one of those general managers who are still pushing. His Houston Rockets are in the hunt for Carmelo Anthony, who’d be an excellent third wheel behind James Harden and Chris Paul.
Elsewhere, Tom Thibodeau and the Minnesota Timberwolves may have another move or two up their sleeves, and the Utah Jazz appear to be out of luck on the sign-and-trade front after losing Hayward to the Boston Celtics.
Carmelo Anthony to the Rockets?
As the search for a general manager rages on in New York, it appears the executives left in Phil Jackson’s wake are still working to get Anthony off the Knicks.
“On the Anthony front, the Knicks and Anthony feel good about the possibility of completing a deal that sends him out of New York, according to sources,” ESPN’s Ian Begley wrote. “The Knicks and Rockets have talked about an Anthony trade recently, with [Adrian] Wojnarowski reporting that ‘the Rockets have been persistent in their pursuit of Anthony, who is willing to waive his no-trade clause to join Paul and James Harden in Houston and the Knicks do not imagine a scenario where Hardaway is sharing the floor with Anthony to start the season.’”
Rumblings have grown even louder since those reports from Begley and Wojnarowski.
Ben DuBose, host of the Locked on Rockets Podcast, tweeted, “Kenny Smith on the #RocketsSummer broadcast, when asked about ‘reports’ of Carmelo wanting Houston: ‘They aren’t reports. He IS interested.'”
And in a since-deleted Instagram post featuring Anthony photoshopped into a Houston jersey, current Rockets center Nene wrote (via ClutchFans), “Wow 😳 he will look Great on this uniform 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙏🏾🚀🏀 and I can’t wait to get back on old Time like in Denver with him…did u guys remember??? 😂😂😂 YouTube 😂”
So, is there enough smoke here to lead to a fire?
The hangup, almost certainly, is what goes back to New York in any potential deal. In terms of meeting the financial rules in the short term, Ryan Anderson’s deal makes the most sense. But the rebuilding Knicks may not want the 28-year old’s $20-plus million a year on the books through the 2019-20 season.
Clint Capela better fits New York’s new timeline, and if paired with Eric Gordon, would also work moneywise. But Houston should be hesitant to part with the young rim-runner, especially after acquiring Paul, who did wonders for DeAndre Jordan’s career in Los Angeles.
Even with all the mutual interest, this deal appears to be at an impasse. But after all the internal damage that’s been done, it’s hard to see Anthony back for the 2017-18 campaign. The next logical step might be a buyout.
Cole Aldrich on the Move?
Among players with at least 500 minutes, Aldrich had the NBA’s best Defensive Box Plus/Minus in 2015-16, per Basketball Reference. On top of that, he averaged 13 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per 36 minutes.
His breakout year led to a three-year, $22 million deal with the Timberwolves, where he struggled to live up to his previous production in Year 1.
Now, he may be on the trading block.
“Aldrich was repeatedly brought up in potential sign-and-trade deals with Indiana to bring C.J. Miles to Minnesota,” Jace Frederick of the Pioneer Press wrote. “But the Pacers reportedly struck a deal with Toronto on Sunday to send Miles to the Raptors.”
Miles heading elsewhere could mean Aldrich is safe for now, but if Thibodeau has already dangled Aldrich once, there’s a chance his name isn’t out of the rumor mill yet.
No Sign-and-Trade for Utah
During the fallout of Hayward’s departure from the Jazz, reports of a possible sign-and-trade surfaced. Jae Crowder was an early target, and a trade exception worth around $23 million didn’t sound bad either.
But it looks like all those possibilities went out the door when the Celtics created the cap space they needed by trading Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris and his smaller contract.
“The news just keeps getting worse for the Utah Jazz on the Gordon Hayward front,” Jody Genessy of the Deseret News wrote. “Although not nearly as devastating a blow as losing Hayward to Boston…the Jazz have not been able to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Boston Celtics, according to sources.”
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