Apr 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (center) stands between Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (left) and Miami Heat forward LeBron James (right) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 102-91. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets Face Texas-Sized Offseason

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Looking to make a big splash for the third year in a row (2012: James Harden, 2013: Dwight Howard), the Houston Rockets are determined to land the most coveted of this year’s free agents.

The Rockets own the 25th and 42nd picks in the 2014 draft. They’re (most likely) looking at Wichita State Shocker Cleanthony Early (25th) to replace/come off the bench for Chandler Parsons and Florida Gator Patric Young (42nd) to replace Omer Asik.

Still, that won’t be enough for Red Nation to run with the 2014 offseason title for the second year in a row.

The Rockets have been clear on making a “Texas-sized run” at Miami Heat‘s LeBron James and newly-opted-out ex-New York Knick Carmelo Anthony. They’re willing to part ways with Omer Asik and “two-years-ago sensation” Jeremy Lin if it means landing either LeBron or Carmelo.

The Case For/Against LeBron James.

Jun 12, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) shoots over San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) and guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the second quarter of game four of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Even though there’s a slim-to-none chance he’s leaving, here’s the case for the Rockets to pursue LeBron James’ talents (and a plus-$20 million contract to go along with them) in the 2014 offseason.

FOR: He’s done it before:  The Decision.

FOR: He’s still LeBron James. Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers Miami Heat lost their second Finals in the last four years, LeBron still shot 57.4 percent, 60 percent from 3 and 77.1 percent from the line while averaging a series best 28.2 points, 7.6 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game. Those are great, sorry, GREAT numbers, the Heat could’ve played wearing white/burgundy/gold colors and we’re back in 2010.

FOR: He’s only going to get better. Here’s a list of James’ shooting percentages since he entered the league in the 2003 NBA Draft:

  • 2003-04: .417
  • 2004-05: .472
  • 2005-06: .480
  • 2006-07: .476
  • 2007-08: .484
  • 2008-09: .489
  • 2009-10: .503
  • 2010-11: .510
  • 2011-12: .531
  • 2012-13: .565
  • 2013-14: .567

Definitely a unique talent who’s worth your while (and money), he’s taken the Heat to back-to-back-to-back-to-back NBA Finals and he could take those talents to H-Town in a jiffy (keyword: “could,” even though it doesn’t look like he would).

Why wouldn’t he take said talents to join the Rockets’ Red Nation? Well, it’s not a good look for  superstar to keep joining forces with the best players in the league. Of course, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are some of the best players in the NBA, but they’re aging, fast. After they’re done, James could have a chance to try to prove he can win on his own (à la Kobe in post-Shaq Lakers). If he went to the Rockets, he’d be joining a younger team and would strip himself away from said chance.

AGAINST: Fit: LeBron James’ a terrible fit for the Houston Rockets. The Houston Rockets are a terrible fit for LeBron James.

  1. James’ at his best when he attacks the rim. LeBron’s M.O. is attacking the rim, drawing double coverage to the paint, hitting the open shooter, bang.
  2. Dwight Howard’s success is almost exclusively inside the paint (93 percent of his shots were inside the paint).

Sure, he’d be surrounded by two of the leagues deadliest shooters in James Harden and Chandler Parsons … but he’d be bumping into Dwight Howard in the paint EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

One thing’s for sure, neither Dwight nor LeBron are coming off the bench for one another. They’re both young alpha dogs who’d want to lead any team they’re on.

This went downhill quickly.

Chances he’ll take his talents to the Rockets: 1.5 percent.

The Case For/Against Carmelo Anthony

Apr 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) takes a shot against the Miami Heat during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As of June 23, Carmelo Anthony’s decided to opt-out of his New York Knicks deal. As it’s been previously stated, this doesn’t mean he’s leaving, this just means his contract with the Knicks ended a year before and he’s ready to sign a new one … maybe with another team.

FOR: He’s done it before: Melodrama 1.0

FOR: Scoring: Melo’s been regarded as one of the purest scorers in the league. With 28.7 points per game he stole the 2012-13 scoring championship from Kevin Durant, even though KD played in 14 more games than Anthony.

FOR: Fit: As a pure scorer, Melo’s the perfect fit for the Howard-led Rockets offence. Surrounding Howard with shooters (Parsons, Harden, Carmelo) would spread the floor and leave anyone who’s covering him at a disadvantage. If some other defender came down to offer help, the opponent would be burned over and over with a shot from one of the most prolific shooter the league has ever seen. An offensive scheme reminiscent of the 2009 Orlando Magic which pounded James’ Cavaliers with three-pointers and an unstoppable attack down-low.

This looks scary… wait.

AGAINST: Money: This is the money the Knicks could offer Carmelo if he’d be willing to continue rebuilding in New York.

Melo’s turning 35 in 2018, he’s getting paid $29.2 million. Who the hell’s running the Knicks?

The Rockets would need to get rid of a lot of cap space to complete/sustain their Big Three experiment and land any of the previous superstars.

The 2011 lockout procured a CBA that makes it nearly impossible to sustain said experiment for long periods of time (ref: 2010-14 Miami Heat). With modified repeater taxes costing almost double the team’s salary, teams are well aware of the consequences that nuking their depth and building a team of high-paid superstars will bring upon them.

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony Houston Rockets Lebron James NBA Free Agency

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