CARMELO Anthony and OKC seem destined to have a short relationship. The 10x All-Star forward joined the Thunder last offseason in an effort to form their own super team capable of battling their way through the loaded West. Things did not go according to plan. With one eye on their overflowing tax bill, parting ways is mutually beneficial for both Oklahoma and their future HOFer forward. Melo isn’t going to sign with any run of the mill team and three potential suitors have emerged in the last week as landing spots for Anthony. All three just happen to include a Banana Boat brother on their current roster as well.
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THERE is still a scenario that would see Carmelo traded to another team, where he could then perhaps be bought out. There are only a few teams able to facilitate such a deal though and Anthony’s no-trade clause also makes it likely he will hit free agency as an uncontracted player any day now. When he does, contenders aplenty will line up for his services (no Golden State, back off).
IF you believe everything you read then it seems the Houston Rockets won’t be accepting no for an answer from Melo. With Luc Mbah A Moute (Clippers) and Trevor Ariza (Suns) flying the coop there is a gaping hole left on the wing that Daryl Morey will want to plug with Melo’s 6′ 8″ frame. Why? Beats me. Houston didn’t lose to the Warriors in the conference finals because they lacked the firepower that Anthony can provide. Signing him give them another big name, but might not help the team address the issues they need to help them contend.
LAST season was Anthony’s worst one shooting the ball from the field as he struggled to top 40% for the duration of the regular season. In six playoff games, things were even worse as Anthony managed to shoot just 37.5% overall and made a measly 6-28 three-point attempts (21.4%). Those shooting numbers aren’t exactly what we thought we were going to see from Melo, who seemed like the perfect guy to play a spot up and shoot role for the Thunder. Apparently co-existing with Russell Westbrook can be a mission. Who knew?
TEAMING up with reigning MVP James Harden and longtime friend Chris Paul does make Houston seem like a scary team. On paper. There is no certainty that at the age of 34 Carmelo Anthony can play a meaningful role for a title-hungry squad anymore and as I already touched on, it might not be a good signing even if it’s a possibility. Still, Anthony has forged a career from making baskets and Harden/Paul demanding the attention of defenses could free up Melo and allow him to jumpstart his production. Even though he is ageing there is still a world where Anthony he carves out a role as a scorer and late game option for the Rockets.
HOUSTON might be the best fit for Anthony’s championship dreams, but if it’s points and shots that he covets, fellow draft peer LeBron James can provide that. Melo could choose the bright lights of LA as his next professional landing spot, giving LeBron another weapon to try combat the teams in his new conference. It seems like a championship for anyone not named the Warriors is a tough ask this season so there’s no pressure on Anthony’s shoulders to deliver in a big way. Instead, he can jack up as many isolations long two’s as he likes without worrying too much about the ramifications.
Image from cavsnation.com
ONCE again though the fit doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Lakers with young forward Brandon Ingram likely to warrant a decent minutes load. With no urgency on finding other stars, James seems content with the idea of playing alongside the kids next year and signing Melo could not only hamper Ingram’s growth but hurt his trade value as well. Don’t forget the Lakers pursuit of Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard either. Do you think he can fit into a frontcourt that already owns LeBron, Melo and potentially still Ingram? I can’t see it working.
IF those two scenarios don’t come to fruition then there is a third alternative, that honestly, isn’t as farfetched as it sounds. At this stage of his career, Melo would be thinking championship and his reputation as a bit of a selfish gunner means not everyone is a fan of the former Knick and Nugget. If he were to sign in Miami though then he could be given the opportunity to be a go-to scorer surrounded by a solid supporting cast.
GORAN Dragic, James Johnson, a healthy Dion Waiters, Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow and old mate Dwyane Wade (let’s be honest he isn’t going anywhere) is a nice group of guys to be surrounded by. Would they be a championship calibre outfit? Unlikely, but Melo could help to repair some of the damages around his image and buy into the Heat’s team philosophy and really contribute to their cause next season.
ANTHONY could choose to play out his days as a gun for hire and jack up shots for a few more clubs before calling it a career. I would like to see him still help and find a role/team that helps him thrive in a subdued role. For this to happen though I think Melo needs to recognise where he is at in his career. He is still more than able to score 20+ a night, maybe not for an entire season, but gone are the days of demanding 20-25 shots a night as a primary option. He can’t afford to get ‘Dwight Howard’ syndrome, believing that he is still in his early 20’s and accept reality.
THE efficiency and shooting numbers from Melo will largely dictate if his 2018-19 campaign is a success or not and there is a world where he converts 45% of his field goal shots and 35% of his treys, both respectable numbers. Like I said all signs point to him taking up residence in Houston, which would be an interesting experiment. Personally, I would like to see Anthony join a team like Miami or another playoff team trying to take the next step. Pair him with a younger guy and take off the instant pressure on him succeeding. But what do I know?
YOU can’t make a chameleon change it’s colours and I have no doubt we will still get to see Melo jack up contested iso jumpers for another few years. If I was a betting man I think he’ll be doing just that in a Houston jersey next season, turning his back on ’03 draft mates James and Wade. I’m sure there won’t be any hard feeling at the annual offseason Banana Boat convention though.
Banner from si.com
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