After a visit in Chicago, Carmelo Anthony took a trip down into the Lone Star state to hear free agent pitches from the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.
His visit first with Houston didn’t come about without a bit of controversy. The Rockets didn’t take heed to the Lakers failure of using billboards to recruit, outfitting the Toyota Center display outside the front entrance with Carmelo in home and away jerseys. They also included an image inside the offices of Anthony posing with the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Fair enough. Except he was sporting the number 7. The same number as point guard Jeremy Lin. Was it a way to assist (See what I did there?) Lin out the door, or just a harmless ploy? Time will tell. Lin for one, doesn't seem too distraught behind it.
Reports are that the Rockets were pleased with Wednesday’s meeting. According to USA Today, the meeting lasted 4.5 hours and included owner Leslie Alexander, CEO Tad Brown, GM Daryl Morey, Head Coach Kevin McHale, VP of Personnel Gersson Rosas, trainer Keith Jones, Clyde Drexler, Dwight Howard, and James Harden. They talked about how Carmelo would be used, the new additions to the team facilities, and their plans for team building.
Based on Daryl Morey’s comments about Jersey Number-Gate, the Rockets consider themselves in a good position to acquire Anthony.
Dallas had far less controversy and fanfare, and their 2 hour, "basketball and business" meeting was also said to be far less successful. The Mavericks nonetheless are pitching a similar message.
The meeting took place at owner Mark Cuban’s mansion, where they discussed their opportunity to win now behind a veteran team, while also adding a major piece in the summer of 2015. The word is Dallas is on the outside looking in, but they have fall back options should Carmelo turn them down.
Carmelo’s addition to both teams would catapult them into the driver’s seat in the Western Conference. The Rockets would have one of the most potent offenses in the NBA behind Carmelo, Harden, Chandler Parsons, and Howard. McHale would certainly have to find a way to create better ball distribution between two players with similar skill-sets (Carmelo/Harden) and a big man that refuses to recognize that he is not the post up threat he believes himself to be (Howard).
Let’s not even touch on how McHale would shore up a defense that might get worse with, "The Ghost" Carmelo Anthony in the fold next to "El Matador" James Harden.
Dallas would also need to work on their defense with Monta Ellis and Anthony on the wings. Yet, one would imagine that a free-flowing offense with the unselfish Dirk Nowitzki at the helm.
Reports are surfacing that Carmelo is set to make his decision this coming Fourth of July weekend.
Continue to follow us for more on the Carmelo Anthony free agency watch. For more on the Houston Rockets, follow our friends over at The Dream Shake. If you want more of the Dallas Mavericks roll on over to Mavs Moneyball.