Zagoria | Boeheim says Carmelo Anthony can help Rockets challenge Warriors

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) defends New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) in the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The way Jim Boeheim sees it, if Carmelo Anthony joins Chris Paul and James Harden on the Houston Rockets, he could help them challenge the Golden State Warriors for supremacy in the West — and in the NBA.

“They probably can’t beat the Warriors but they can certainly make it interesting,” the Syracuse coach who won an NCAA title with Anthony in 2003 told FanRagSports.com at the Nike Peach Jam here.

“Those three guys are capable of giving a lot of people problems. Harden alone gave people a lot of problems last year and now he’s got Chris Paul who’s arguably one of the two or three best point guards in the league and a very good defender. And now you got one of the better scoring options in the league [if Anthony joins the team]. They still got [Eric] Gordon coming off the bench and a couple of other guys.”

Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause with the Knicks, but ESPN reported he is considering doing so in order to join either the Rockets or the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is due $54 million in the next two years.

La La Anthony has said it’s a “real possibility” that her husband, an eight-time NBA All-Star who has never won an NBA title, could opt to leave the Knicks.

Boeheim, meantime, thinks his former star would fit perfectly with Harden and Paul.

“I think it’s a great fit,” he said. “Those guys all played together on the Olympic team. The two guards will make it easier for Melo, I think. He’ll get some easier shots because of how they play, how they move the ball, how they penetrate. He won’t have to work as hard in that scenario for his shots. He proved in the Olympics he’s a really good spot-up shooter. He doesn’t get that with the Knicks. They don’t spot up really. They don’t do that. You gotta have a pick-and-roll  dribble offense like Houston has to do that.”

The Knicks relied on the triangle offense under former team president Phil Jackson, who made it clear he wanted to get rid of Anthony before he himself was fired.

“I think [Anthony] will be disappointed [to leave the Knicks],” Boeheim said. “He wanted to get it done in New York and did everything he could to get that accomplished and I know he loves New York and playing there and I’m sure he’ll be disappointed.

“But if it works out and he gets to Houston, that gives him a chance to be on a really good competitive team that could beat anybody. I mean, the Warriors are hard for anybody to overcome but you never know.”

As for the Knicks, Boeheim suggests they’ll have to continue to rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis and younger pieces like first-round pick Frank Ntilikina.

“Well, I guess so,” he said. “I don’t think they have much choice really. He’s a really good young player but they have a long way to go. They’ve got a lot of work to do.

“At least this will give Carmelo an opportunity if they can finish that transaction. If not, he’ll just do the best he can in New York.”


Adam Zagoria is a basketball insider who has run ZAGSBLOG.com since 2006. He is a college basketball contributor for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the co-host of The Four Quarters Podcast via VSporto.com, which is available via iTunes. Zagoria is also a contributor to The New York Times. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.


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