The NBA regular season is more than two weeks old, which means all 30 teams are starting to get an idea of what they need to go from a pretender to a contender. One player that’s hoping he can be the missing piece for a team is Carmelo Anthony.
It’s been exactly a year since Anthony played his last game in the NBA — a tw0-point effort with the Houston Rockets in a loss to his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since then, there has been little-to-no traction on his NBA comeback, and not for lack of trying on Anthony’s part.
Despite this, Anthony isn’t quite ready to give up on his ambitions of playing in the NBA again. At the ALS Association of Greater New York’s Lou Gehrig Sports Award Benefit on Thursday, Anthony said his feelings haven’t wavered about making an NBA comeback.
Does Carmelo Anthony still want to play in the NBA?
"2000 percent. Make that the headline." pic.twitter.com/rU8aqEYUfy
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) November 8, 2019
“2000 percent,” Anthony said. “Make that the headline.”
Anthony told reports that he was “surprised” that he’s still a free agent, but that he’s staying patient, which is a good thing because he may have to wait a little while longer.
“I’m surprised, of course. But it is what it is at this point, though,” Anthony said. “I’m sitting back waiting. Seeing what happens. Spending time with my family.”
A large part of the reason Anthony is still a free agent is because teams are more interested in what he can be than what he is or has been throughout his career. Could Anthony still score 20 points a night as a high usage scorer on a rebuilding team? Sure, but Anthony’s best role at this stage of his career is as a knock-down 3-point shooter and a big body on the boards. In his last stop with the Rockets, he was asked to do just that, but to no avail.
In 10 appearances for the Rockets, Anthonys shot 32.8% from 3-point range, including 31.4% on catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts and 29.2% on wide-open 3-point attempts, per NBA.com. If he’s not knocking down the 3-ball on a consistent basis, he offers a team very little.
Anthony may be more willing to buy into that role now that he’s face-to-face with his own NBA mortality, but he’d likely have to showcase his ability to do that in a different league — like the G League or CBA — before he signed another NBA contract. He could also sign a non-guaranteed contract, a la Dwight Howard and Joe Johnson, but it’s unclear if he’s too prideful to do that.
Anthony may still have the talent to play in the NBA, but he has to sort a few other things out before another team gives him an opportunity to prove his worth.