The Houston Rockets sure know how to make Carmelo Anthony feel special while simultaneously burning one of their own.
The Rockets rolled out the red carpet for the free agent on Tuesday, stealing a move from the Chicago Bulls in the process, as they welcomed Anthony to the Toyota Center with a massive image of him wearing a Houston jersey outside of the Toyota Center.
The only issue with the wooing, though, was that the Rockets showed Anthony wearing a No. 7 jersey — which is the number he wears with New York, but it also belongs to Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin.
The Rockets will host Carmelo Anthony and have pictures of Carmelo in Rockets uniforms on Toyota Center marquis pic.twitter.com/2VfycvqlkN
Rockets GM Daryl Morey was blunt in explaining the move to FOX 26 in Houston, saying, "Bottom line, if Carmelo comes, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin have to be traded. It’s just math. It’s not personal."
Lin is due more than $8 million in the last year of his three-year, $25 million deal with Houston.
Morey claimed that it was "standard practice" to offer certain jersey numbers to help woo free agents, even if those numbers belong to current players on the team.
"It’s always a challenging situation during free agency," Morey said. "You are always having to recruit players and there might be current players at current positions, might be people with the current numbers. It’s unfortunate that it’s often hard to handle. … I get the sensitivity and I hate that it creates some hurt feelings. I don’t like that, but that’s obviously Carmelo Anthony’s number, that’s the number he wants. He told us that."