When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey traded for James Harden just before the 2012 season, he carefully outlined a blueprint to build a championship team, one capable of starting a dynasty. Getting a player like Harden who can attract other stars was the first step.
Back in July, Morey successfully lured Dwight Howard away from the Los Angeles Lakers and the land of 16 championships. With about a month left in the regular season, the Rockets have the sixth-best record in the league and are primed to make a deep playoff run.
Following the blueprint, what is Morey’s next move?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that the Rockets believe they can shed enough contracts in order to offer Carmelo Anthony close to a max deal. Furthermore, the Rockets and the Chicago Bulls are at the top of Anthony’s destination wish list. Players like Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones would have to be moved to create the cap space. If the Rockets had Anthony, Harden and Howard, what would that mean for the rest of the league?
Anthony turns 30 in May and is still physically in his prime. He would join Harden, a top shooting guard along with Howard, who’s notoriously recognized as the elite big man in today’s guard-driven league.
He’s not known for his play on the defensive end, so he needs a big man to protect the rim for him. Enter Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Playing with a ball dominant wing like Harden who can create for others would be ideal for Anthony because he has the ability to hit perimeter shots. Check the highlights of what he did against Charlotte last month when he scored 62 points. In Houston, he could shine as a spot up shooter with Harden creating or come off screens set by the imposing Howard.
Harden and Howard by far would be the best teammates Anthony has ever played. Amar’e Stoudemire has always been hurt (played in 127 games the past three seasons) and ultimately the Knicks have never had a chance to compete for a championship because of it.
Morey’s track record says that acquiring Anthony is not too far fetched. If he’s able to pull it off, the Rockets would have all the makings of a championship dynasty – and for Anthony, this would be his best shot at winning.
In Miami, there’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Oklahoma City has Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. The Los Angeles Clippers are led by Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Anthony, Harden and Howard?
Houston, you might not have a problem at all.