The Carmelo Anthony era with the Houston Rockets officially came to an end this week but, in most ways, it was over for quite a while. The future Hall of Fame forward hasn’t taken the court in an NBA game since Nov. 8 and it was simply a matter of time until the Rockets and Anthony parted ways in favor of other options on both fronts.
It will be very interesting to see how Anthony’s next step will play out, particularly as word broke that the Chicago Bulls will not deploy him on the floor before Feb. 7 trade deadline. With that said, now-former teammate James Harden was complimentary of Anthony on Tuesday, saying that he wants Anthony to land “somewhere where they can embrace him.”
“Yeah, man. Melo is one of the best to ever hoop. He loves the game of basketball,” Harden told ESPN’s Ian Begley when asked if he was disappointed on behalf of Anthony. “Some guys just do it just because they’re gifted or they’re athletic or they can shoot the basketball. There’s not that many players that like, love to hoop. … It kind of sucks that it didn’t work out. It is what it is. I just hope he finds somewhere where they can embrace him and he can still hoop. So he [gets to] make that decision that he’s done [playing].”
Harden went on to say that wants to “see (Anthony) happy” and that “he has put so much time and effort into this game that he should be able to hoop and still have fun playing the game of basketball.” While that is certainly an admirable stance (and one that reflects the perception that Anthony is a favorite among his fellow players), it appears to be far from a lock that Anthony will suit up in an attempt to help another team this season.
Begley also cites Harden as saying that Anthony can “for sure” act as a helpful player for a team, while Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni echoed that sentiment, placing blame on the situation in saying that it “just wasn’t a good fit” in Houston. Anthony will be searching for an opportunity to prove himself after it simply didn’t work with the Rockets and the 34 year old will be forced to sell himself as an on-court asset in a way that he has never been forced to before.
Both Harden and D’Antoni are right in that it simply didn’t work in Houston and circumstances certainly intervened. Still, Anthony’s past doesn’t necessarily mean that he can help another playoff-bound entity right now, although his now-former teammate and coach believe he still has something left in the tank.