Nov 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) controls the ball against Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons (25) during the second quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

How the Houston Rockets Can Keep Chandler Parsons and Sign Carmelo Anthony

By now, it’s no secret that Chandler Parsons is going to want a much bigger contract when his current one expires (Parsons will become a restricted free agent after the 2014-2015 season). He currently has one of the most cap-friendly contracts in the league, making around $950,000 a year. Parsons is expected to be looking for $10 million or more per year in his new deal.

It’s probably also no longer a secret that Houston is one of the rumored landing spots for Carmelo Anthony. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote about the news, saying that Chicago and Houston are the rumored front-runners to land the New York Knicks’ small forward.

But if the Rockets sign Carmelo Anthony, what happens to Chandler Parsons? Rockets GM Daryl Morey would hate to let go of his prized 2nd round gem, who is often the glue to the Rockets’ team chemistry. But what if the Rockets could have their cake and eat it, too? Anthony has been known to play the power forward position and at 6’9”, can guard other 4’s in the NBA. Parsons could stay in his normal role of small forward, and the Rockets wouldn’t be giving up too much size. Financially, though, the Rockets would have to make some big moves to accomplish this.

First, dumping the salaries of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik are a must. Combined, the two hit the cap for nearly $17 million next year, but each actually make nearly $15 million in cash. Finding a team that’s willing to pay $30 million in actual money is going to be tough, but the Knicks could do MUCH worse than picking up a couple of starting-caliber players for someone who may leave anyway. Let’s face it, New York is at least 2 years away from contending even if Anthony stays.

Nov 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) signals after hitting a three-point shot against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) signals after hitting a three-point shot against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Next, and most importantly, the Rockets would need Parsons or Anthony to take a pay cut. The more likely is obviously Parsons. If the Rockets can convince him to take, say $6.5 million per year, and all but guarantee Western Conference Finals contention for years to come, Parsons would be hard-pressed to pass up on this deal. To boot, he would be playing with top-caliber players around him, which would free him up for a ton of open 3-pointers or cuts to the basket. Howard, Harden, and Anthony’s scoring numbers may dip slightly, but that’s to be expected when adding superstar talent (a la Miami Heat).

Would Parsons be willing to give up close to $4 million (at least) per season to stay with the Rockets? Who knows, but staying in Houston with the “Big Three” would likely give him the best chance of winning a ring he may ever have in the NBA. At that point, it’s whether he chooses the green or the gold.

Adding Anthony could be what the Rockets need to get to the next level and win an NBA Championship. Keeping Parsons, however, is just as important to Houston’s contention. If the Rockets are serious about obtaining Anthony, Daryl Morey will have his work cut out for him. He will need to make some hefty deals to free up the cap space, much like he did with Dwight Howard. If Morey wants to land  Anthony, history shows that he will make the necessary moves to do so.

“In Morey We Trust.”

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony Chandler Parsons Houston Rockets

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