Not long after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder are cutting ties with Carmelo Anthony, Marc Stein of the New York Times listed the Houston Rockets as an interested party for his services.
According to Wojnarowski, the Thunder could clear over $100 million by moving on from Anthony. The two sides will try to work out a trade, otherwise they will go the buyout route. Wojnarowski noted the Thunder are trying to shed money as they near a historic $310 payroll and tax bill.
Anthony opted into his $27.9 option for the 2018-19 season, and it's hard to imagine another team willingly taking that on, unless the Thunder would offer sweeteners (such as draft picks).
But the Rockets could be motivated to go after the perennial All-Star. They won 65 games last in 2017-18, behind the dynamic duo of Chris Paul and James Harden. After falling one game short of reaching the NBA Finals, the Rockets could certainly use one more star as they try to topple the Golden State Warriors powerhouse.
Houston lost their third-best player in Trevor Ariza, who signed with the Phoenix Suns. Though Anthony is coming off the worst statistical season of his career, he should fit nicely under head coach Mike D'Antoni.
Anthony was traded to the Thunder shortly before the start of the 2017-18 season, but he struggled to fit in their offense and wasn't able to help the team become the true championship contender we expected. With Paul George re-signing for the max, the Thunder have to shed salary, so moving on from a 34-year-old Anthony seems like an easy choice.
It's unclear when exactly the Thunder will cut ties with Anthony, but it sounds like we can expect the Rockets to heavily pursue him. But with Houston up against the cap, they'll surely need Anthony to willingly take a massive pay cut.