Sell: As much as I would like to see the Lakers lose, I can’t buy this one percent. I cant convince myself that adding one unproven player will catapult this team from a lottery team to knocking off the two-time defending champions. Did I mention Kobe Bryant hasn’t retired yet? This is the same Lakers team coached by 11-time champion Phil Jackson with a supporting cast to die for. Carmelo Anthony is great and all but is he any better than Tracy Mcgrady was in his prime. T-Mac was one of the best guards in the league, and he and Yao struggled to get out of the first round.
Adding Carmelo to the rosters will undoubtedly improve the Rockets team, but placing them above the Lakers? Kobe Bryant would have to break his leg in four different places and then I “might” consider it, but who knows. I understand the Lakers have been good for so long, it is only natural to think they will eventually start to decline. But with somebody with the resume of Kobe Bryant, I will say hes finished when he tells me hes finished. When I break this down to a position analysis, the Lakers would take the edge at every position except point guard (and we all know Kobe really plays point on that team).
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With Melo, I would definitely put the Rockets in the top four seeds in the West, but to put them at number one the first year is absurd. Think about it, as hard as the Nuggets have been shopping Melo, they aren’t going to give away just out of spite. Denver will ask for young talent, whether it be Brooks or Martin, so Houston will have to lose something to gain something. I’m not going to say anybody is better than the Lakers until I see them lose (not even the Miami Heat).
Sell: If we were to acquire ‘Melo in a trade, we would realistically have to give up a starter, a young player and a pick. I do believe that Morey is capable of bringing in a superstar and still remaining deep on the bench, but if we have to give up Martin or Brooks, young talent and then some, count me out. The Lakers are coming off another championship year and a pretty decent offseason. Going out and getting Matt Barnes is huge for them and terrible for a Rockets fan. Matching up will be much different now that RonRon and Barnes are their key defenders.
Last year, Ariza and Battier were our stoppers, and now that we traded away Ariza for Lee, it hurts our ability to defend against the Lakers. I really like Courtney Lee and I know he is a very good defender, but I think we all can say, there is no real way to guard Kobe Bryant. That’s really not important to me though. My real concern is his ability to guard small forwards. I think we might notice how Ariza’s athleticism really helped us match their length last year. I thought Ariza’s ability to switch on screens and cover multiple players, even Lamar Odom playing the PF at times, really helped us. That is why I think the Rocket’s have to do some impressive things defensively first before I can honestly say we are a better team with Anthony.
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Overall, I don’t see a ‘Melo trade going through because I know Morey’s history. It is very hard to believe he would give up any of the rumored Rockets unless he honestly thought it would make us that much better. And from the rumors going around, a deal including Kevin Martin may not look so good. Bottom line, I don’t want anything to do with this trade unless we can pair together Martin, Anthony and Yao. If you are like myself, you probably spent a majority of your day at work, day-dreaming about playing the Fakers with that line-up. In my dream world, I would fantasize about trading away Jeffries, Patterson, Hill and that NY pick for Anthony, and if that were the case, then yes, BUY!
Sell: The addition of Carmelo Anthony easily makes the Rockets a serious contender to win the Western Conference, but he does not make them the best team overall. That title still belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. Rockets fans may not like to admit it, but the Lakers are still the defending NBA Champions, and I don’t see any reason why they should lose that title Not only do I think the Lakers are the best team in the West, but I believe they are the most talented team in the entire NBA. Yes, that includes the Miami Heat. Last time I checked the Lakers still had Kobe, Gasol, Artest, Odom and Bynum. That is a great core of players that proved to be effective last season and there is no reason to think that will change.
The defending champs also added some solid role players in Steve Blake and Matt Barnes. If the Rockets are able to land Melo then it will be a significant upgrade to an already solid roster. I would even go as far as to say that the move may make the Rockets the second best team in the Western Conference. I still believe there is a wide discrepancy in talent between the Rockets and the Lakers, but adding Carmelo would go a long way in narrowing the gap.
Buy: Maybe I am extremely naïve, or blinded by red lights, but with a healthy Yao, on paper, this deal would make the Rockets the most talented roster in the West. I am assuming the Rockets would give up Kevin Martin, Patterson or Hill, and at least one of the picks Morey stole from Donnie Walsh in the T-Mac trade. Comparing against the defending two-time champion Los Angeles Lakers, here are how the two lineups would matchup:
PG: Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry
SG: Chase Budinger, Courtney Lee
SF: Carmelo Anthony, Shane Battier, Jared Jeffries
PF: Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson or Hill
C: Yao Ming, Brad Miller
PG: Derrick Fisher, Steve Blake
SG: Kobe Bryant, Shannon Brown
SF: Ron Ron, Matt Barnes
PF: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom
C: Andrew Bynum, Theo Ratliff
Going position by position, the Rockets are as good if not better than the Lakers at every single spot on the floor (except shooting guard). Aaron torments Derrick Fisher every time these two teams meet. Melo would provide the much needed go-to-scorer the Rockets have been looking for, ever since dealing for Tracy McGrady. Scola can hold his own against Pau, and Bynum doesn’t even come close to touching a healthy Yao. The Rockets have a superior bench than the Lakers, and the addition of Courtney Lee gives two legitimate defenders Houston can throw at Kobe night in and night out (Lee/Battier).