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Thursday, June 19, 2014
Howard recruiting Melo to Houston?

By Ian Begley

Count Dwight Howard among the NBA stars hoping Carmelo Anthony joins his team this summer.

“I've always been a Melo fan,” Howard told USA Today. “One thing he said in an interview a long time ago, I think my first or second year in the league, I remember him saying that if he could play with one guy in the league he would play with Dwight Howard, so you never know. You never know what could happen. Right now, I don't know, but for Melo's sake I just hope he goes somewhere where he feels like he has a chance to win and be successful for the next four or five years of his career.”

Dirk Nowitzki said last week that he’d "love" to have Carmelo come to Dallas.

Anthony hasn’t officially declared himself a free agent, but he’s expected to do so on Monday when he officially opts out of his contract.

The Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are all teams Anthony would consider in free agency, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Free agency begins July 1.

Houston would have to move salary off its roster to create enough cap space to offer Anthony something close to a max contract. Anthony can make $22 million in the first year of a max contract starting next season.

So Houston would have to move big-salary players such as Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to make room for Anthony.

Howard told USA Today that he hasn’t spoken with Anthony about free agency. Doing so could be construed as tampering by the NBA.

“I know this is a time for him when he has to really just focus on what's going to be best for him. And I really believe that in this point in Melo's career, he just wants to win. He's done everything -- we both have that kind of same mentality to where all the individual accolades, we've got them. We've got a gold medal, he has been in tops in scoring for a while, but those are all individual things,” Howard said. “I think at this point he just wants to win, so it would be great to have him here because I know what his focus would be. It's up to him, where he's at in his career. But I want people on my team who are all about winning. That's my focus.

"I don't know what [Anthony] is going to do, but he wants to win,” Howard said. “So he's going to be looking for a place to go where he can win. He's made enough money. He's done everything. I think he just wants to win right now. That's his only goal.”

Anthony has said he’d like to stay in New York but he also wants to be in a situation where he can contend year in and year out for an NBA title. He’ll have to decide if Phil Jackson gives him the best chance to do so. If not, he may strongly consider Howard’s pitch to join him in Houston.

One factor at play: the Rockets play in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, so you have to wonder if Anthony takes that into consideration while weighing his options. Some of Anthony's friends, for what it's worth, have downplayed the possibility of Anthony ending up in Houston because of his preference of playing/living in a big market.

Question: Do you think the Rockets give Anthony a better chance to win a title than Phil Jackson and the Knicks?

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