Carmelo Anthony and Mike D'Antoni

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Melo To Houston Rumors

No thanks.

July 10, 2018 - 11:47 am
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The Golden State Warriors took a giant step closer to winning the 2019 Western Conference Finals yesterday and while I’m not going to say that we should just hand them the trophy now – you know what, screw it – barring a series of unforeseen and  horrible injuries, the Golden State Warriors are your 2019 Western Conference Champs. Go ahead and hook them up with the hardware right now. 

And that’s before I’ve seen Boogie Cousins in his return from his Achilles injury. And it’s without waiting for the Jonas Jerebko signing to be official. Because as intriguing as those moves are, it has nothing to do with them. It’s all about the Rockets.

Or who the Rockets were. Because last year’s Rockets had the best record in the West. Last year’s Rockets came within inches of knocking out the Warriors and as every Rockets fan would tell you, if Chris Paul stays healthy, that series might’ve ended differently. They were up 3 games to 2, headed back home with a chance to finish.  Really two chances to finish. The Champs were on the ropes, taking a standing 8. But the Rockets didn’t choke them out. And from the looks of things their window to win a title, may have ALREADY slammed shut. 

Because this year’s Rockets won’t look much like last year’s Rockets. Yeah, James Harden, and Chris Paul will be back. Clint Capela’s looking for a fat stack, but you’d expect he’ll be back too. 

Trevor Ariza? Not so much. He was introduced in Phoenix last week. Luc Mbah A Moute? He just signed with the Clippers. Not exactly richter-scale rocking moves, those are two brutal losses for a team that was so close. Versatile guys with length who get after it on defense. Dudes who can stick with just about anyone you put them on at one end of the floor and stretch the floor and drain a three at the other. Losing one was bad. Losing both is brutal. 

And I’m not even going to get into the question of why they didn’t re-sign Luc when it seemed like it wouldn’t have broken the bank, because there is something more troubling on the horizon for Rockets fans. Because here is a sentence from a Woj tweet that will keep all of Houston up at night: Houston is determined to sign Carmelo Anthony once he becomes free in OKC, sources tell ESPN.

That’s not a Woj bomb. That’s something completely different. This is a warning shot. The sign of impending doom. Of Armageddon. 

Houston is determined to sign Carmelo Anthony? That’s the glass of water in Jurassic Park shaking as the T-Rex approaches. 

And now, before I continue, let me stress that Rockets GM Daryl Morey knows more about basketball and assembling a roster than just about anyone on this planet. He set a goal of beating the Warriors this year. That was his mission and he might’ve come within a tweaked hamstring of doing it. 

He’s a certified genius and if anyone has ever earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to putting together a team, it’s Daryl Morey.

Buttttttttt…..

It’s Carmelo Anthony we’re talking about. 34 year old Carmelo Anthony. Coming off a rough season in OKC Carmelo Anthony. A guy who is now a liability on one end of the floor and totally worthless on the other. A guy who is a shell of his former self and seemingly incapable of accepting his role and who and what he has become. 

If I’m looking to replace a pair of three-and-d guys, Carmelo Anthony isn’t exactly on the top of my list. In fact, he doesn’t even make the list. 

Did I mention that he’s 34 years old? And he wasn’t exactly Gary Payton defensively when he was 24. 

Maybe the thinking is that if he’s with Harden and Paul, he’d be Olympic Melo, but OKC had dreams of Olympic Melo and they ended up with Worse-Than-NBA Melo.

Maybe the thinking is that he’s coming off a season that ended brutally and was overall just a miserable, borderline humiliating experience and that he’ll come to Houston a changed man. Did I mention that he’s 34 years old? 34 year olds rarely get over on father time  and rarely change their stripes. Melo has been Melo for a long time and he’s not changing now. It’s hard to believe that at 34, Melo is going to be a souped-up Trevor Ariza. More like a broken down Bernard King. 

And I get that if you want to beat the Warriors, you have to be able to put points on the board and Melo helps with that. But if you want to beat the Warriors, you also have to keep them from scoring and that’s where things get a little ugly for Melo. Make that a lot ugly. I’m not sure how you have him on the floor in a playoff series against the Warriors. OKC practically strapped him to the bench against the Jazz. And that was the Jazz, a team that’s known for winning with defense, not the Warriors, who will run you off the floor. 

And when the season ended for OKC, it didn’t end well for Melo. He vented in a big way. And now you’re looking to reunite him with Mike D’Antoni? Because that went so well the first time they did it. And now you’re looking to run it back again. No thanks.

Again, it’s Daryl Morey and he gets the benefit of the doubt in the biggest way possible. But if they really do go with Melo and not much else at the forward spot, Morey is testing that doubt in the biggest way possible. Because this is not going to work. And the Rockets, who had the best shot of knocking off the defending champs in the west, probably won’t get another one.