The NBA is a brutal league. Organizations will say one thing and do the opposite. In some cases, they blame players for their mistake.
Recently Carmelo Anthony was told by the Huston Rockets that they were going to part ways with him. This came as shocking but not unfamiliar news to the NBA world.
Anthony is a 10 time All-Star, 2012-13 scoring champion, made the All-NBA team six times, and 2003-04 All-Rookie team. His career has been in a downward trend since his departure from the New York Knicks. Some would argue it started when he came to the Knicks. In the 2016-17 season, his last season with the Knicks, he averaged 22 points and 6 rebounds. In the 2017-18 season he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for center Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick. Many thought that with Anthony forming a Big-3 like team with Paul George and Russel Westbrook, it would revitalize his career.
In his one-year stint in Oklahoma, he averaged 16 points, nearly 6 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from the field. Even though he averaged 3 more total points a game, his shooting percentage dropped more than 30 percent. This added insult to injury as he was already hesitant to taking a backseat role on this team.
Anthony has a close friend group with other NBA All-Stars including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul. With all three of these players being cemented leaders for their teams, it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to consider them during Anthony’s free agency.
LeBron James made a huge splash this offseason in moving to LA and joining the Lakers. Dwyane Wade is now on his farewell tour with the Miami Heat for his last season. Chris Paul is coming off of a year where he and the Rockets went to the Western Conference Finals. Some even think if Chris Paul wouldn’t have been injured the Rockets would have defeated the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.
Anthony is closest to Chris Paul amongst the group, which is a major reason why he opted to sign with the Rockets this summer. Since the Rockets decided to save the money on the luxury tax instead of resigning key defensive players like Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, they were stuck with making a splash. Many would’ve argued against this and say that the front office has no trust in its current roster. It’s not unfair to think that either. If the squad you have gets you to the Conference Finals in what was a very competitive Western Conference, and the glaring reason why you lost was because of injuries, why not double down and try again?
As the Rockets opened the 2018-19 season, Carmelo was not in the starting lineup. The Rockets have only played 14 games, with Carmelo started just two of those games. The Rockets were 7-7. Here’s where the problem lies. Huston’s head coach Mike Dan’toni is a heavily offensive minded coach. After all, he was Carmelo’s coach in New York and really helped him perform when he first arrived there. The problem is that there are no defensive minds on staff. Former Huston assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik is a defensive guru. He helped the Rockets retain the 6thranked defense before retiring.
Bzdelik has returned to the Rockets as an assistant coach to help them get their defensive structure back.
When coaches come into a franchise, they look for their type of players. Guys like Ariza and Mbah a Moute are considered Bzdelik’s guys, not Carmelo Anthony. Anthony is and always has been a skilled offensive star. That never really transferred to the defensive side of the ball. Now it doesn’t seem that shocking at all that Carmelo is being cut from the Rockets.
In Carmelo’s recent meeting with the Rockets, he had no idea the rug was being pulled from under him. What makes matters worse is that the leaders on the Rockets didn’t even see that coming. Imagine what Anthony’s close friend Chris Paul felt. James Harden didn’t even know about it until it broke the news.
Since then current NBA and retired players have stood up for Carmelo. Dwyane Wade took to twitter saying, “Man ya’ll need to stop. That’s the easy way out instead of addressing what the real problem is.” LeBron James backed this tweet by commenting, “Facts.” Allen Iverson said, “He still has a lot in the tank.”
However, Tracy McGrady who is an NBA Legend who played in Toronto, Houston, and Orlando thinks Melo should retire to maintain his legacy.
Hopefully Carmelo’s legacy is still salvageable. Not even the Golden State Warriors wouldn’t even take his call. There’s only two good options for Carmelo. Its Miami or Los Angeles, not the Clippers.
Hopefully, Wade could convince Spoelstra and Riley to consider it. Maybe James and convince Magic to give Melo a chance. LeBron makes those around him better. It’s a possibility that James could be what Melo needs to find his mark in the NBA again.