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Could The Rockets Land Carmelo Anthony?

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Chris Mannix reports for Sports Illustrated:

Multiple league sources familiar with his situation told that Anthony would also be open to signing a long-term deal with Houston or New Jersey should either of those teams offer the Nuggets an acceptable trade package.

This comes after a flurry of reports stating Melo's interest in a trade to the New York Knicks. It's safe to say the Rockets can place themselves in Anthony's top three. For now. Multiple sources may swing this in a different direction at some point.

But... could this work? Could Carmelo Anthony become a Houston Rocket?

The Rockets have assets. That's for sure. Remember that sweet $6 million trade exception that Houston acquired in the Courtney Lee trade? Turns out this may be the best chance to use the exception. Pair it with some expiring contracts and the Rockets have a pretty enticing package for Denver.

Obviously, the concern surrounding a potential Anthony deal stems from his willingness to sign an extension. If the Rockets trade valuable assets to acquire Anthony for half a season and suddenly lose him to free agency, there would be problems. Then again, as the Nuggets have found out, it's tough to get Anthony to guarantee anything.

But can the Rockets do it? Can they make a deal? Absolutely. An example: Shane Battier and Jared Jeffries for Anthony. Two expiring contracts that match up when paired with the trade exception. It sounds like a talent rip-off, sure, but it allows the Nuggets to regain cap flexibility, which is probably the most they can hope for at this point.

It would certainly help Houston's case if they jumped out to a great start in 2010. Regardless of how nicely Anthony might fit with the rest of the team, he's the caliber player that the Rockets can't afford to pass up if available. Which he clearly is.

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