Rockets could make play for Carmelo Anthony in offseason, according to report

Maddie Meyer

The Rockets likely won't have the requisite cap space to sign Anthony outright, but there's always the possibility of a sign-and-trade.

The Houston Rockets may make a strong play for Carmelo Anthony this summer, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Berman reports the Rockets inquired about Anthony at the trade deadline, and there have been discussions between the two teams revolving around Rockets center Omer Asik. While nothing came to fruition, Houston may look to strike again with Anthony almost certainly opting out of his contract and hitting the free-agent market.

The Rockets have most of their cap tied up in the contracts of Asik, Dwight Howard, James Harden and Jeremy Lin. Howard and Harden aren't going anywhere, so the only way to potentially open up enough cap space to sign Anthony outright would be by dealing Asik and Lin. Both players are scheduled to make about $15 million next season, but their cap hits are only $8.37 million due to the "Gilbert Arenas" provision in the CBA.

If Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is unable to unload both Asik and Lin, perhaps a sign-and-trade with the Knicks could be worked out if Anthony doesn't want to stay or new president Phil Jackson wants to go in another direction.

To acquire Anthony in a sign-and-trade, Houston would still have to part with both Asik and Lin unless enough salary was unloaded elsewhere or the Knicks star took enough of a discount. New York wouldn't necessarily have to take on both players, and they may be able to work something out involving Asik or Lin along with young players and/or draft picks. Both Asik and Lin have value to the Knicks as expiring contracts because they plan to be major players in free agency in the summer of 2015. Lin could also be a carrot to the fans who were upset he left New York in the first place.

If Anthony were to join the Rockets, he, Howard and Harden would form quite a potent trio. And even if Anthony did take less money, the pay cut wouldn't be quite as severe because there are no state income taxes in Texas.

Anthony has said he would prefer to remain a Knick, but there should be plenty of high-profile suitors for his services. In addition to the Rockets, the Chicago Bulls and both Los Angeles teams are potential destinations for Anthony.

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