In this years wild trade scramble, the Houston Rockets seems to be focusing on free agent Carmelo Anthony for trade with Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, according to many rumors, and league sources.
According to Basketball Insiders, Houston is ready to trade anyone but Dwight Howard or James Harden to pick up Anthony, and they are working hard to afford him. There has been talk that Houston has offered up Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in trades that could include their first round draft pick, just to get those salaries off the books.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Rockets also plan to decline the fourth-year option on forward Chandler Parsons' contract, freeing him to become a restricted free agent this summer. The Rockets hold a $960,000 option on the fourth and final year of Parsons' contract for the 2014-'15 season, but want to avoid letting Parsons, 25, become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Parson has been underpaid for much of his time in the NBA, and will be looking to change that with his next contract.
For the Rockets, there are some advantages to letting Parsons into restricted free agency now. First, Houston is determined to clear the necessary salary cap space this summer to chase a third maximum contract free agent to join Dwight Howard and James Harden, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
If the Rockets can find a taker for Lin and Asik, they'd go from around $57 million in salary commitments to $40.2 million, which means enough room in cap space to get serious about Anthony.
Parsons was a big part of recruiting Harden to the team, and has expressed a strong desire to stay with the Rockets.
From what league sources tell Yahoo!, that may be a possibility.
In one scenario, Houston could secure three max-out players - including Howard, Harden and a potential star free agent like Anthony- and then re-sign Parsons to an extension below the max-level range; once Anthony is secure, the climate for negotiation with Parson would be better. Parsons could command a salary in the $12 million to $13 million annual range.
Houston has to take that seriously, if Parsons is as important to team chemistry as he appears to be. After watching other top teams like the the Pacers and Clippers flounder because of chemistry issues, the Rockets don't want to end up the same way.