AFTER mutually agreeing to part ways months ago, Carmelo Anthony has finally got his wish. The Houston Rockets dealt Melo to the Chicago Bulls yesterday, with Chicago intending to waive Anthony, allowing him to sign with whoever he chooses. After struggling to find a suitable role in the past few seasons, landing in the right spot will be crucial for Anthony and there are still some situations in which the future Hall of Famer can succeed.
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BEFORE I dig into potential landing spots for Melo let’s get one thing very clear. The 2019 version of Carmelo Anthony isn’t the same player who made 10 All-Star teams and dominated on the Olympic stage for a large portion of the 21st century. No, this Melo doesn’t possess the scoring superpowers that he once did, but there is still some value for a team signing Anthony, should he fully understand his role.
WE saw him battle with his ego in OKC and Houston en route to career-low shooting numbers, but when deployed against second units as an instant spark off the bench, Melo can still produce. While he still may have lofty goals of starting for a team I hope that Anthony can accept a secondary role and use his offensive arsenal to torch opposing bench units while still potentially playing a role at the end of games as well.
THE team most linked to Carmelo has been the Los Angeles Lakers, but things become complicated if L.A. is serious about signing him. As Woj mentioned in the video above, the Lakers currently have 15 contracts and don’t seem like they will waive a player (at this point anyway) to free up a roster spot. However, we are still a few weeks away from the trade deadline and we could see Los Angeles make a move that may free up a slot for Melo to join his banana boat brother in LeBron James.
OTHER teams who could use Anthony’s services include the Sixers and Trailblazers with both teams chasing some reliable depth pieces in their playoff push. Philadelphia sent away Dario Saric and Robert Covington when they made the move for Jimmy Butler and could use a scoring punch off the bench. You could say the same about Portland who relies heavily on Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to do most of the heavy lifting. They have a cluttered rotation at forward, but having a string in their bow like Melo would be beneficial for a Blazers squad that is 21st in bench scoring this season.
ONE destination I would like to see Anthony try out is joining the Utah Jazz. Recently we have seen the Jazz find their mojo and move back into a projected playoff berth, but they still own the 20th ranked offensive efficiency as Donovan Mitchell struggles to find his feet in year-two. Failing that he could work with the Brooklyn Nets, who have one of the deepest, most balanced teams in the league this season, with no real need for a player like Melo. That being said, getting a successful veteran into the Nets young locker room could help both sides with Kenny Atkinson proving for a number of years now that he can get the most out of the roster, even if there is a lack of talent (no offense Nets’ fans).
Image from nj.com
SHOULD an NBA home not eventuate for Carmelo there is the possibility he takes his talents to another continent, having been linked to China for a number of months now. It’s not likely that heading to China would be Melo’s first, second or even third choice, but if nothing comes to fruition we could see him put his isolation scoring talents on full display across the Pacific.
I’D be surprised if all 30 NBA teams passed up on Anthony, but like I said at the leadoff, he isn’t the same player he once was. His reputation alone should see him get another contract when his buyout with the Bulls has been processed, although nothing’s certain. After spending the last few months in limbo I think the majority of the NBA wants to see Anthony succeed and we’ll have our fingers crossed that there is still some fuel left in the tank.
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