Something I’ve noticed about the locals over the past few years is Rockets fans saying they “don’t want” certain star players on their team. Be it for financial reasons, because they’re supposedly a “cancer” in the locker room or because of fit, fans turn their nose up to every star player Houston could feasibly acquire. They did it with Dwight Howard and it’s happening again with Carmelo Anthony. Obviously, these folks don’t remember what it was like when Kevin Martin was our “star” player.
I was admittedly guilty of buying into the media narrative about how awful Dwight would be for team chemistry no matter where he ended up, but a year later and he has been a model citizen in Houston. History is repeating itself with Melo so far this summer, with the continuing rumors that Daryl Morey is ready to go balls out to try and get him to agree to join Dwight and James Harden in Houston.
When I ask the locals why they wouldn’t want Melo to become the final piece of that potentially devastating three-headed monster, the answers are usually non-existent to just outright false. With that in mind, let’s debunk or verify the myths on one Carmelo Anthony and how he would or would not fit in Houston.
Melo is too old to give a max deal
This one is partially true and covers both of my personal reasons (the only two) against going after him. He turned 30-years old today and will command max dollars to agree to anywhere outside of New York. Do we really want to commit $20 million plus per year to a guy on the wrong side of thirty? I would argue for it because he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The last two seasons have been some of his best statistically and his game isn’t particularly reliant on athleticism. I guess if you want to call his style an “old man’s game,” you could. If a max deal to a new team is for five years in a sign and trade (really four, as they almost always opt out of that final year to gain more security), it’s worth the risk if you think he puts you over the top.
Melo doesn’t fit next to James Harden
Completely and utterly false. Will they have to agree to share the ball? Of course. Do I think that’s possible? Absolutely. If Melo is willing to leave New York, that tells me he is ready to put winning over the spotlight. Anthony’s ability to play three positions can help Harden get more rest than he’s gotten the past two seasons as well. The concerns over two ISO players demanding the ball is understandable, but I have to believe that would be talked out before any possible recruitment show like last year. But to write them off as “it won’t work” is as silly as when people said that about LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Melo can’t play power forward
The biggest fallacy out there right now. Yes, Melo is questionable on defense, but no more than Terrence Jones. Melo also had his career high in rebounds last season with 8.1 per game. More than two-thirds of his minutes the last two season, the best of his career, have come at the four. He can also spell Parsons and Harden as needed. Minutes won’t be the problem and at 6’8″ and 235 pounds, he isn’t going to get pushed around as easily as Jones did against the other bigs in the Western Conference. Make no mistake, Melo isn’t a banger and matchups would be key; however, those bruising bigs have to guard Melo on the other end as well. This is something that wasn’t really a factor in Jones’ game. Also, did I mention he shot 40% from three last year? Sounds like the stretch four we’ve been waiting for.
Melo would cost too much in a sign and trade deal
Why? Where did this misconception come from? If Carmelo tells New York he wants to leave, it’s beneficial to both the Knicks and Houston to work out a sign and trade. However, New York has no leverage to demand anything from Houston. So stop saying it’ll cost us Chandler Parsons in this deal. You would probably have to throw them some legit NBA talent, such as a Terrence Jones type, to get them to agree to adsorb the contracts of a Jeremy Lin or Omer Asik. But a package centered around Lin, Jones and future draft picks is more than enough to get it done. It all hinges on Anthony’s preference.
Melo doesn’t play any defense
This one is tough to defend, but I’m going to attempt it here. When Carmelo had a healthy Tyson Chandler next to him, no one really dinged him for his defense. One would argue having the best defensive big man in the game in Dwight Howard could help mask his deficiencies on that end. Even in his worst defensive possessions, he makes more of an effort than others currently on the Houston roster. And he plays way better defense than Kevin Love, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from lusting over him.
Melo becoming a Rocket would make me upset
In the end, I have my hesitance about going after Melo, too. As an accountant in my day job, I have a hard time looking past the financials of crippling your cap on three guys making the max or close to it. It’s really tough to maneuver around that kind of inflexibility. But just as I said last summer; I’ve trusted Daryl this far, I’m going to continue to do so.
Just stop making up reasons why you wouldn’t be excited if the Rockets added Melo to a James Harden and Dwight Howard led team. That’s NBA2k kind of stuff right there. You’d be excited and you know it. Stop making myths up and just embrace it should it happen. I know I will.
Click here if you can’t decide between Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love. This should clear it up.