Rockets general manager Daryl Morey confirmed on Twitter Monday that Carmelo Anthony had finally joined the team:
Welcome to the @HoustonRockets @carmeloanthony – easy to find highlights for him!
Earlier, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Anthony planned to sign a one-year, $2.4 million contract. “Anthony will compete for a starting spot in training camp, but ultimately could come off the bench—based on whatever Mike D’Antoni decides makes most sense for Rockets,” Wojnarowski later added, referencing the team’s head coach.
D’Antoni later spoke to reporters, saying he didn’t know what Anthony’s role would be, but added it was “discussed in the first meeting and Anthony was open to either role.”
The deal has been essentially completed for more than a month. Houston was rumored as Anthony’s destination when reports emerged he and the Oklahoma City Thunder were negotiating a buyout.
The move was all but confirmed by the time the Thunder traded Anthony to the Atlanta Hawks in July. Atlanta subsequently waived the 10-time All-Star, making him a free agent.
Anthony has started all 1,054 games he’s played in his NBA career and has previously bristled at the idea of coming off the bench. He told The Undefeated’s Jemele Hill in July:
“I know how to play this game of basketball. I’ve been playing it for a long time. When I feel like I’m ready to take that role [coming off the bench], then I’ll take that role. Only I know when it’s best for me to take that role. I’m not going to do that in a situation where I still know my capabilities and what I can do. And at the end of the day, the people who really matter know my capabilities and what I can still do. You start getting to the media and debates, it’s going to always be kind of back-and-forth.”
Being a starter has been a point of pride throughout Anthony’s career. There are 30 players in Basketball Reference’s database who have started at least 1,000 games in their NBA career. Anthony is the only player who has never come off the bench.
Melo also spoke to Hill about swallowing his pride when it came to taking a buyout:
“I had a conversation with my wife and family. I said to them, ‘I’m not taking no buyout. I’m not getting waived.’ And they said, ‘At the end of the day, nobody is going to know that. You have to do what you have to do. It’s going to be a blip on your radar. It’s on to the next chapter.’ It took me a while to get to that point where I’m like, OK, I’m going to accept it.”
Acquired as the third piece of a Big Three in Oklahoma City, Anthony had the worst year of his career in 2017-18. In a career-low 32.1 minutes per game, he averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting a career-low 40.4 percent from the floor. The Thunder were at times a better team with him on the bench.
Anthony is joining a Rockets roster that won 65 games a year ago, featuring the reigning MVP in James Harden and Chris Paul, one of Melo’s best friends. Perhaps the Anthony-Paul relationship convinced Melo it was time for a change.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report