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Stein: It Would Be A "Surprise" If Carmelo Anthony Doesn't Sign With The Rockets

carmelo anthony at a thunder press conference

Carmelo Anthony's NBA future is undecided right now. Anthony is done in Oklahoma City, and all that remains to be seen is if he will be bought out or traded.

Anthony's next destination remains unknown. The Houston Rockets have been mentioned extensively as a possibility for him, and the New York Times' Marc Stein thinks that is where Melo will end up.

In his latest newsletter this afternoon, Stein called Houston the "unquestioned frontrunner" for Anthony. He added that it would be a "full-fledged surprise" if he didn't wind up there.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been widely mentioned as a chief rival to the Rockets once Anthony actually becomes a free agent, largely because the Lakers' new face of the franchise is Melo's close friend LeBron James. But it's been suggested to me — strongly — that the Lakers' interest is overstated.

The Miami Heat have been mentioned, too, which is understandable given that the Heat patriarch Pat Riley has been known to happily gamble on a big name in need of some image rehab. As of Tuesday morning, though, Houston was the unquestioned frontrunner for the former New York Knick.

The Rockets' two frontcourt losses in free agency — Trevor Ariza to Phoenix; Luc Mbah a Moute to the Los Angeles Clippers — have only made Melo's reunion with Houston Coach Mike D'Antoni feel even more inevitable.

Assuming Carmelo does wind up in H-Town, it will be fascinating to see how he fits in. Sure he can be a catch-and-shoot three-point weapon, but how will he adjust to playing at that pace?

We won't even mention defense, which has never been Anthony's strong suit. Ariza and Mbah a Moute were both strong wing defenders, and Anthony will not be able to replace their impact on that end of the floor.

Wherever he goes, we should get some clarity on Anthony's next move soon.