(Mandy Cheng / AFP Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets decided to rip a page from the playbook of the Chicago Bulls and welcome Carmelo Anthony to town on his “Free-Agent Tour of America” with a nice Photoshopped image on their arena.

There’s Melo, all right, looking spiffy in a Rockets uniform bearing the number “7” on the side of the Toyota Center. There’s just one small — okay, not so small — problem. That number belongs to Jeremy Lin, who is currently on their roster.

It’s particularly unfortunate because signing Anthony means that Lin probably has to go, just as he had to go when the two were with the New York Knicks. From the New York Post:

Before Lin signed a three-year, $25 million deal with the Rockets, it was nearly impossible to believe the Knicks would allow the biggest phenomenon in the NBA to leave town, but Anthony’s supposed unhappiness sharing the spotlight with Lin, and the duo’s clashing styles on the court, allowed the unthinkable to occur. While negotiations were ongoing in 2012, Anthony remarked: “It’s up to the organization to say that they want to match that ridiculous contract.”


After he leaves Houston, he’ll head for Dallas, where the point person on the Mavericks’ pitch will be Dirk Nowitzki, Eddie Sefko of Dallasnews.com writes:

Waiting for Anthony will be Dirk Nowitzki, owner Mark Cuban, coach Rick Carlisle, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and a few other key members of the organization.

But it will be Nowitzki who once again will be responsible for winning this game at crunch time for the Mavericks. It will be up to him to convince Anthony that Dallas is his best ticket to wealth, happiness and multiple chances to win a championship.