With just about a month of the 2018-2019 NBA season in the books, small forward Carmelo Anthony appears to be looking for a new team to play for. Anthony has appeared in 10 games this season for the Houston Rockets this season as he is averaging a career-low 13.4 points per game. The Rockets have primarily used Anthony as a bench player this season which was to be expected when they brought him in over the summer. But things are not working out in Houston for Anthony due to the fact that he is a mere shell of the player that he once was as this was not the way that his NBA career was supposed to end, but he did it to himself.
In 2003, the only thing that prevented Anthony from being the first overall pick of the NBA Draft was there was this high school phenom named LeBron James who was the best basketball prospect to come around the bend in quite some time. Fresh off of leading the Syracuse Orangemen to the national championship, Anthony would settle for being the third overall pick of the NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. And in Denver, Anthony would show that he was the real deal as he averaged 21 points per game in helping the Nuggets reach the playoffs in his rookie season.
Anthony would quickly develop a reputation as far as being one of the NBA’s top scorers which included him helping the Nuggets reach the playoffs in each season that he played with the Nuggets. But after agreeing to a long-term extension with the Nuggets in 2006, Anthony would miss out on the chance to team up with his James and shooting guard Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat in 2010 which caused some frustration for the All-Star. Anthony then began seeking a trade out of Denver which would ultimately lead to him being traded to the New York Knicks in 2011.
Initially Anthony was met by a hero’s welcome in New York City as he would become the Knicks first bona fide star since Patrick Ewing. But the honeymoon between Anthony and New York City would not last long as his tenure with the club would only produce three trips to the playoffs, while they were never able to get past the second round.
At the age of 30 in 2014, Anthony would opt-out of his contract with the Knicks in order to test free agency. And after flirting with both the Rockets and Chicago Bulls, Anthony decided to remain with the Knicks.
But a bum knee began to take away from Anthony’s effectiveness as a scorer. And as the Knicks appeared poised to go in another direction in order to build their team around power forward Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder just prior to the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season.
There was some excitement for Anthony’s arrival in Oklahoma City, but it quickly waned as he was only able to average 16.2 points per game, while shooting 40% from the field. The Thunder would make the playoffs, but after they were eliminated in the first round, Anthony would be made expendable.
Anthony would then be traded to the Atlanta Hawks who would buy out his contract which allowed him to join the Rockets, and at this point you know the rest.
All signs point to Anthony and the Rockets soon parting ways. Anthony and his representatives are hoping to find a new NBA home for the future Hall of Famer, but overall things are not looking good for him.
The biggest problem for Anthony is that during his 16-year NBA career, his game has not improved. Anthony’s current skill set is the same that it was when he walked across the stage at the 2003 NBA Draft to shake the hand of former league commissioner David Stern which is not a good thing. Anthony is an isolation-player who relies on his jump shot. And following his knee surgery several years ago, Anthony’s jump shot has not been the same, while age has caught up to him.
Watching Anthony’s career unfold over the past few years is eerily similar to that of one of his former Nuggets teammates in Allen Iverson. Iverson was one of the better scorers of his era, but his game was never able to evolve, and he could never accept the fact that he was no longer “the guy”. Iverson would then begin to bounce around with several teams until the writing on the wall became so apparent that he had to walk away.
And like Iverson, Anthony is a member of a stellar draft class that accomplished great things in the NBA, but he will never be able to rub elbows with James and Wade in regards to being able to taste championship glory. Anthony should have been able to win at least one NBA Title, but his ego got the best of him. Anthony has always sought max contracts, while he never altered his game in order to win, and this can be summed up in the summer of 2014 when he stayed with the Knicks as they were able to offer him more money than both the Bulls or Rockets. And now a guy who could score like no other in his prime is left to see “if” an NBA team will be willing to pick him up.
This is indeed a sad ending for Anthony, but if you’ve following his career, you should not be surprised.