MVP James Harden says Carmelo Anthony’s transition to the Houston Rockets will be “a breeze.”
“Coming off an MVP season, now you got to add Carmelo Anthony, it’s going to be easy,” Harden said in an interview posted Thursday on The Players’ Tribune. “The transition is easy. When you got that many talented, high-IQ guys around who love to communicate and love to figure things out, the job is easy.”
Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, signed a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Rockets this month, after spending last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He helps fill a void for the Rockets, who lost forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency.
Carmelo Anthony, whose one season with the Thunder featured career lows nearly across the board, wrote a letter to thank the team and its fans for “genuine support.”
Mike D’Antoni says Carmelo Anthony will be a “better fit” with the Rockets than he was with the Knicks, and he won’t have a problem coaching the veteran forward in Houston after their falling out six years ago in New York.
Harden was a big fan of the signing, saying before Anthony made it official, “Everybody in the world knows what Carmelo brings, how gifted and talented he is. He still has a lot more to go. If he comes to the Rockets, we’ll get the best out of him.”
Harden has supreme confidence in his team, saying the Rockets are consistently underestimated. He notes that last year, many predicted a rough transition when Chris Paul joined the team.
“We all see how it worked out,” Harden said. “When you got two high-IQ guys who are unselfish and know the game of basketball, it’s easy.
“The job gets hard when you don’t communicate. That’s what it’s about. That’s where it’s misconstrued. You got guys that are, ‘Oh, how are they going to work?’ As long as we’re on the court and we communicate, things will be a breeze.”
Harden was in contact with Anthony even before the signing, saying that communication among the star players is at the front of his mind during the offseason.
The two will join the rest of the Rockets for a week of bonding in the Bahamas next month.
“It’s extremely important. Bringing other guys in, just got to get them acclimated before training camp starts, something we need,” Harden said.
Rockets forward PJ Tucker shares Harden’s enthusiasm.
“Everybody always talks about Melo this, Melo that. Melo is a great basketball player,” Tucker said Wednesday in an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump. “He’s an all-time great scorer in this league. Coming to a team where we score a lot, he’ll fit right in on our team.”
Anthony is coming off his worst season statistically, having averaged 16.2 points for the Thunder. His career average is 24.1 points per game. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni says he doesn’t know yet whether Anthony will start or be used off the bench.