Sometimes in life perception is reality, and this concept can be applied to Carmelo Anthony. The 10x All-Star, 6x All-NBA performer, has scored over 25,000 points and is a bonafide Hall of Famer.
Now, this future Hall of Famer finds himself without a team as he looks to close out his career on his terms. Anthony has been working out vigorously in hopes that a team will sign him. Skill-wise it looks like Anthony can still score and contribute to an NBA team.
So the obvious question is why hasn’t a team been willing to sign Carmelo Anthony?
Recently Carmelo Anthony appeared on ESPN’s First Take to discuss his uncertain future with host Stephen A Smith. Melo throughout the interview seemed baffled and confused by the last two seasons, and how everything played out.
He stated that he did everything that was asked of him in OKC. Although the adjustment may have been tough he stated that he accepted his role with no problem.
Anthony also said that the Thunder wanted him to adjust his contract and he insinuated that him leaving might have even been a salary cap luxury tax situation.
Whether or not any of this is true or not is irrelevant. It was painfully obvious that Anthony’s play had slipped, and he wasn’t the same player.
He appeared in 78 games, averaging 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds while shooting 40% from the field and 35% from three-point range.
For comparison, his numbers in his last season with the Knicks Anthony averaged 22.4 points on 18.8 shots, but the rest of his numbers are basically the same. He took 15 shots in OKC, so a credible argument can be made that Melo was already declining as a player.
Fast forward to next season Anthony would join his close friend Chris Paul as a member of the Rockets. Again Melo was supposed to be the missing link that a team needed.
Back in the spring, Houston had taken the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the western conference finals. Many thought Melo’s offense could be that final piece needed to get past the Warriors juggernaut.
The question again surfaced on whether Anthony would be willing to come off the bench. Anthony balked and laughed at the question. Ultimately he would start two games before being taken out of the starting lineup.
After ten games Carmelo Anthony would be released by the Houston Rockets. In that same interview with Stephen A. Smith Melo stated that he was completed blindsided by the Rockets decision to release him.
Anthony stated that Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey called Anthony in his hotel room while he was preparing to play the San Antonio Spurs, and stated “your services are no longer needed”.
He was caught completely off guard and Melo immediately called his best friend Chris Paul and the best player on the team James Harden to see if they knew anything about this.
Both players told him no and just like that Anthony’s time in Houston was up, and he would finish the rest of the 2018-2019 season at home waiting for a team to call him.
That call never came, and now Melo finds his NBA career in limbo and possibly over. Anthony very much wants to play and wants to end his career on his own terms. He told Stephen A. That he believes he has a lot in the tank, and he is far from being finished.
So how did Anthony arrive at this place?
I believe all the rumors of Carmelo Anthony finally caught up with him. Can Melo still get a bucket in the NBA? Of course, he can there is not a doubt in anyone's mind on whether Anthony can still score.
There have been several rumors of Melo being a selfish player. The image painted of him is someone who valued scoring over winning games. He famously clashed with his first head coach Jeff Bzdelik. Bzdelik wanted Anthony to commit more to the defensive end eventually, Bzdelik would be fired and George Karl would be brought in.
Melo clashed with Karl as well and in his book, and in several interviews Karl would stated how frustrating it was to coach Anthony at times. He had some of the same complaints about Melo on the defensive end, and questioned how hard he was willing to compete on that end of the floor.
His teammate in Denver and current NBA analysis Chauncey Billups had this to say about Melo. He said he was a good teammate, he practiced hard, but he felt like scoring 30 meant too much to him.
He went on to say that Anthony has not been willing to take a mental step back, and say I’ll come off the bench and play against backups, and try to contribute to the team that way.
A pretty strong statement from Billups who has since walked his statement back a little bit, but this is the perception of Carmelo Anthony across the league.
Sometimes in life “Perception is Reality”, and in this case, this applies to Carmelo Anthony. It has always appeared that Anthony cared about scoring and making money. Instead of team play and winning championships.
That is Melo’s choice this is ultimately a business, and a player of Melo’s caliber and skill set has the chance to make hundreds of millions of dollars in salary. Which he did with career earnings well north of $200,000,000 million dollars.
So, who could be mad at him if he chooses that route? He has every right to want to pursue the money, but there is a consequence if you choose to value certain things.
In Carmelo’s case when your elite skill starts to erode, and there is all these other things surrounding you. It can make you expendable as a player, and in a blink of an eye, your career can be over.
I am pulling for Melo to get another opportunity to lace the shoes up, put on an NBA uniform, and play one last season. But unfortunately for Carmelo Anthony, I believe in this case “Perception is Reality”, and this may be the last stop on a brilliant Hall of Fame career.