By Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley, Special to AFRO

Perennial and tarnished all-star Carmelo Anthony is expected to sign with the Houston Rockets in the next coming days and the rumors are already spinning. Pending Anthony’s clearance of waivers after an expected release from the Atlanta Hawks, whom Anthony was just traded to last week from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony will be free to sign with whoever he wants. However, the Anthony-to-Houston links have been surfacing for months now. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey confirmed with reporters recently that Houston is indeed “in the mix” as a favorite to land the 10-time all-star. Houston came one game and a Chris Paul hamstring away from knocking off the Warriors in their seven-game Western Conference finals matchup. Would Anthony’s acquisition give them the edge? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO SportsDesk debate.

In this April 9, 2018, file photo, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony (7) dunks against Miami Heat guards Goran Dragic (7) and Wayne Ellington (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Riley: After dishing out $160 million to keep Paul and gearing up to hand center Clint Capela a max deal, Houston is going all-in this year on beating the Warriors and picking up Anthony just flows to that commitment. A potential Anthony add would lace the Rockets with firepower unforeseen since the Olajuwon/Drexler days and give Houston the edge, in my opinion. Look, I get the whole Warriors dynasty thing, but Houston was literally right there with Golden State step-for-step in that series and probably would’ve edged out  the back-to-back champs, if not for another Paul playoff injury. I think James Harden is the best player between the two teams and Paul’s competitiveness and basketball mind, along with Anthony’s scoring, should probably make them the favorite next year out West.

Green: Riley, did you forget about the biggest addition of the summer? DeMarcus Cousins signing with Golden State pretty much sews up all the Association next year, rendering this debate maybe pointless. I agree: Houston was definitely a threat last year and will be again, but when the Warriors had their backs against the wall, they prevailed when they needed to. So, I naturally assume they’ll do it again, this time with Cousins. Take Cousins out the equation and you have a team that’s won back-to-back championships with a player in Kevin Durant whose won back-to-back Finals MVP awards. They’re already the toughest out in the league, and they just added Cousins while we’re pondering Houston adding a player who’s been losing his zing. Give me the Warriors.

Riley: Golden State should obliterate any and every other team in the league but they’ll struggle with Houston. I almost prefer the Rockets lineup to the Warriors, pending they sign Anthony. Sometimes, having too many hands in the cookie jar can be a bad thing. Who’s the closer? Who gets the ball when behind? Who makes the on-court decision about where the ball is going? Those are questions that the Warriors will have to answer and although they’ve obviously done a great job since acquiring Durant, adding a talent and a temper like Cousins will be more challenging. Cousins claims he just wants to win. Everybody just wants to win and that’s always the statement when players flip teams but things can get crazy on a team full of superstars. I just like the Rockets setup better: They have a clear hierarchy and order and their stars play their roles to the fullest. Adding Anthony could be a title-changer.

Green: Having too many superstars in their prime has never been a bad thing, and I don’t expect it to be worst after Cousins’ add. Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers of the 80s had superstars at almost every position and chemistry or who the ball was going to late in the game was never an issue.  And make no mistake, there’s definitely a hierarchy in Oakland and it starts with Durant and Curry. Everything else after that is up for grabs and the guys on the team know this and don’t care. We know who’s getting the ball for the Warriors when it’s late and the contest is tight. They could bring back Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and things would still be the same. But if the big ifs of adding Anthony and if Houston can now beat Golden State, let me clarify simply: no.

Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley

AFRO Sports Desk