Give Me Anthony, Or Give Me Death!
As teams prepare for the 2019 NBA season, the scramble to add bench depth is on. While players like Vince Carter and Thabo Sefolosha have already put pen to paper for their veteran roles, one player is still left as an unexpected free agent.
That man is Carmelo Anthony. Yes, as in 10x All-Star, 6x All-NBA, and 4x Olympic Gold Medalist Carmelo Anthony.
Since being traded from the New York Knicks to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017, Melo’s career has descended into a sharp decline. During his one year stint with the Thunder, Melo was largely blamed for the chemistry issues between himself and the Thunder superstars Russel Westbrook and Paul George. This led to him subsequently being traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 2018, where he was bought out and signed by the Houston Rockets. After a 4-7 start by the Rockets, in which Carmelo played only 10 games, it was obvious that Carmelo once again did not fit the playing style in his new city. He was immediately traded after those 10 games to the Chicago Bulls, who waived Melo. Melo has not resigned with any team since.
It’s been 8 months since Carmelo’s unemployment, and surprisingly, no team has shown remote interest in signing him. But why? Teams are afraid that Melo will ruin the team’s chemistry or create locker room issues like he did in New York. But is this really enough to keep one of the NBA’s best scorers of all-time out of the league? I think no. So here are two crazy, but possible, landing spots for Carmelo Anthony for the 2019-2020 season.
#1: The Golden State Warriors
Honestly, this move boils down to two simple words: Why not?
The Warriors had one of the toughest turns of bad luck in the NBA this summer. After losing Kevin Durant in the NBA Finals, the Warriors lost not only the championship, but Klay Thompson (injury), Jordan Bell (signed with Timberwolves), Andre Iguodala (traded to Grizzlies) and Kevin Durant (signed with Nets). Although the Warriors bounced back with the acquisition of All-Star D’Angelo Russell, they are far from the dynasty team they were only a few months ago.
If Carmelo can play like the Knicks’ Carmelo we saw only 3 short years ago, he could give a much needed boost to a drastically depleted roster. Carmelo could add depth on the wings (something they lost in Iguodala and Durant), as well as a veteran presence for young players like Alfonso McKinnie and Jordan Poole. The state of desperation that the Warriors are in could be the perfect place for Carmelo to rebuild his NBA career.
I do see the issue here. The Warriors are set up just like the Rockets and Thunder were. Melo would play 3rd fiddle to Curry and Russell on offense, just like he did behind Westbrook/George and Harden/Paul, If Melo has shown us anything, it’s that he can’t play well behind one star, let alone two. If Melo can figure out how to use his skills without a high usage rate, he could the blessing that the Warriors need.
#2: The Charlotte Hornets
Yeah, yeah, I know. This sounds crazy. Why would THE Carmelo Anthony join the NBA’s laughing stock team?
Well… how about going out with a bang? Or using this as proof?
Anthony has shown that his downfall has been playing with other high level players. He’s unsuccessfully played with Kristaps Porzingis, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and James Harden – all of whom are among the game’s most elite players. So if he needs to play on a team where he’s the best player… why not Charlotte?
I know Charlotte sucks and if Carmelo wants to come back, it’s a very low chance he’ll end up in one of basketball’s worst markets on one of basketball’s worst teams. But if Melo could show that he can still compete, even if it’s on one of the worst teams in the NBA, more competitive teams will be able to see his worth and maybe sign him in the offseason.