The Houston Rockets greeted Carmelo Anthony on his free-agency tour Wednesday with his image on the windows of the Toyota Center wearing a red No. 7 jersey.
Nevermind that point guard Jeremy Lin currently wears that number for the Rockets, who are seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to land the high-scoring Anthony. The shooting forward wears No. 7 with the New York Knicks.
The Houston Chronicle reported that the Rockets felt good about the visit from Anthony that lasted 4 1/2 hours and included Rockets center Dwight Howard, who signed with the team as a free agent last year. Others in attendance included owner Leslie Alexander, CEO Tad Brown, general manager Daryl Morey, coach Kevin McHale, former Rockets standout Clyde Drexler and guard James Harden.
Afterward, Anthony headed to Dallas for a meeting the Mavericks. He then moves on to Los Angeles on Thursday for a visit with the Lakers. His first stop was Chicago on Monday to talk with the Bulls.
Lin, who is expected to be traded by the Rockets to clear salary cap room, took the slight in stride but was insulted nonetheless.
"Luke 6:29 - If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them," Lin posted on Twitter.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told Fox 26 Sports that it's part of trying to attract players to a franchise.
"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.
"Reality is it's standard practice. When we went after Chris Bosh a few years ago, we had him in (Luis) Scola's number. When we went after Dwight Howard he had (Patrick) Beverley's number. 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. Bottom line, if Carmelo comes Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin have to be traded. It's just math. It's not personal. My job is every day figure out how to win. Sometimes it creates challenging situations."
Howard would love to see Anthony join him in Houston.
"At the end of the day, we all want to win a championship.That's why I came here. He would be a big part of that," Howard told KRIV-TV.
After Anthony concludes his road trip, he is expected to meet with the Knicks.