Let’s face it. The Rockets haven’t had a true superstar for the past few years. T-Mac and Yao don’t count because they were on the sidelines more during that time period than on the court.
The Rockets may have a solid squad for the upcoming season but if no other moves are made than it will be another year without a true superstar talent. K-Mart, Brooks, Scola and Yao are all very good players at this point in their careers but they lack the talent and ability of some of the NBA’s best. Darryl Morey is aware of this problem and is planning on fixing it.
Recent reports around the league point to the Rockets now being in the mix to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets. The Rockets have been fairly quiet for what has been possibly the biggest off-season in NBA history. Let’s recap. The Big Three in Miami. Stoudamire in New York. Boozer in Chicago. And the best the Rockets could come away with is Brad Miller? Don’t get me wrong, I think Miller is a great fit for this team, but it is safe to say that a 34-year old center was not the first option on Morey’s list this off-season. And no, Courtney Lee was not first on his list either.
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In fact, Morey’s first goal was to sign Chris Bosh as the new face of the Rockets organization. Bosh exemplifies the type of young, explosive athlete that is becoming the prototypical centerpiece for NBA franchises to build around. Just look at some of the players that fit this description and how their respective teams have built around them: Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, Rudy Gay in Memphis and Brandon Roy in Portland. Morey may have missed out on Bosh but he will have a second chance to bring another rare talent to Houston and I think he should do everything in his power to make it happen.
The Nuggets are going to be asking a lot in return for Melo and it would make sense for the Rockets to try and give up a player with a large contract. This would help balance out the team salary by essential swapping one large contract for another. Taking these two factors into consideration it would appear that Kevin Martin will be the main player in the deal to acquire Melo. I think that Martin is a phenomenal player and a great fit for the Rockets. He is a premier three-point shooter who can score off the dribble and get to the line. K-Mart is also extremely familiar with Adelman’s offense and seemed to gel with the team last season. All of these reasons are strong arguments to keep Martin and not go after Carmelo Anthony, but the fact still remains that Melo is the type of player who can take over a game whenever he wants. There are only a few other players in the league that currently possess this game-changing ability and their names are Kobe, LeBron, Durant and Wade. That is the type of elite talent that you can’t find just any day. That is why I am all for bringing Melo to Houston no matter what the cost. Even if it means that the Rockets may lose him to free agency after just one season.
Here’s how I look at it. In the past two decades the only team to win an NBA championship without a superstar caliber player was the 2004 Detroit Pistons. That team is the rare example of how a handful of very good, but not elite, players came together to win a title. However, in most instances over the past two decades NBA championship teams have consisted of players like Wade, Olajuwon, Kobe, Shaq, Duncan, and of course Jordan. There is currently no one on the Rockets that has anywhere near the skill level of the players previously mentioned. However, the Rockets trading for Melo would change everything. He is the type of player that can do it all. Melo has the capability of scoring from inside and outside because of his rare size, shooting ability and ball handling skills. He can also score with his back to the basket by overpowering smaller defenders with his 230 lb 6 foot 8 inch frame. The best part about the Rockets going after Melo is that he is only 26-years-old. There is still plenty of time to add pieces around Melo and plenty of years to try and make a run at an NBA title. The Rockets haven’t had a player with the skills that Anthony possess since a younger, healthier version of T-Mac over four years ago.
The Rockets’ line-up is one of the deepest in the league from top to bottom. That is why sacrificing Martin along with one or two other pieces (Lowry, Budinger, or Battier) makes the most sense. The Rockets are one of the few teams in the league that can part ways with several pieces of their line-up and still have the depth to make up for the loss. They could even throw in the first round pick they acquired from the Knicks this past season. Whoever the Rockets decide to trade, (Martin, Scola, the whole team) the fact still remains that the NBA is a star driven league. Many teams such as the Lakers, Celtics and Heat have not one but several stars. Hopefully, the Rockets will be adding one of their own stars to their roster and Melo will fill the void that they have been sorely lacking.