With pretty much all of the big time free agents signed, and the Kawhi Leonard story getting more and more bizarre and strange everyday, there is still one player available, or soon to be for that matter, that is currently getting some buzz, and I want to give my 2 cents on him as well.
The player I speak of is Carmelo Anthony. While he isn't technically a free agent yet, the reports from everywhere say that the Thunder will let him leave. They will save a ton on the luxury tax and shed a player that just didn't fit right with the team last year. Carmelo Anthony, bless him, still thinks that he is a big time player. He still thinks that he is a number one, or at the very worst, number 2 option on a team. He still thinks his mid range game is formidable. He still thinks that he should be the last guy taking the shot at the end of the game. That is all very cute, but that is all very wrong.
Carmelo Anthony's best days are far, far behind him. He is beginning to look a lot like a has been. While he was never as dominant as Shaq was, the end of his career is beginning to resemble it. Shaq thought he was basically a hired hand going from town to town to bring them a title. After leaving Miami, he went to Phoenix to team up with Steve Nash. That was a disaster. He then went to the Celtics, maybe trying to help them regain some glory. That was worse than Phoenix. He even teamed up with LeBron in his first go round in Cleveland, and that was just plain sad. Shaq may be the greatest center to ever play the game, but the end of his career was horrible. Carmelo Anthony isn't 1/10 the player Shaq was, but, as I said earlier, the similarities are shocking.
Carmelo was a great offensive player while in Denver. He was electric and fun to watch, and he led that team further in the playoffs than they had been in a long, long time. He then forced his way out and demanded a trade to the Knicks, when he could have just signed there as a free agent. But, to his credit, the Knicks were a playoff team in his first couple years, and won 50 games a couple times. He made Madison Square Garden games a must watch for awhile. The Knicks attracted big name players and teams for primetime games on ESPN and TNT his first couple years in New York. Stars always play out when they come to the Garden, but when the Knicks are a good team, they play even better. At first, Carmelo to the Knicks was okay. Then it all fell apart. The sign and trade crippled the Knicks ability to really sign anyone of significance, and they started to truly become an awful basketball team. Carmelo just started to hoist shot after shot after shot after shot. They had no real solid rookies because they never had any real draft picks due to the trade. Oh, and when they did have a "high" pick, late teens, early 20's, they wasted it. Then Phil Jackson came aboard and just destroyed the team he played for in the NBA. He signed Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose to ludicrous contracts. He hired Jeff Hornacek, a coach that likes to play space and pace, and forced him to coach a team with one ball dominant guy. The only decent thing Jackson did was a mistake, he admitted as much, and that was drafting Kristaps Porzingis.
Last offseason, when Carmelo desperately needed a change of scenery, the Thunder traded for him. They figured they would get Olympics Carmelo to be the floor spacer for Paul George and Russell Westbrook. At the time, I loved this move. I figured Carmelo would love it too. But then he scoffed at coming off the bench during a preseason interview. He said he wasn't going to play any different. He was basically saying that he wasn't going to change, it was going to have to be George and Westbrook that would have to change. Well, as we all saw last season, it was a disaster. He was bad. The Thunder were, maybe, the most disappointing in all of the NBA last year. Carmelo looked sluggish. His shooting was awful. He disappeared at times, especially when he felt he wasn't getting enough touches. Oh, and his defense was truly awful, even for him. It just never worked out.
So, I was kind of surprised when he opted in, until I saw that he was opting in for 20 plus million dollars this upcoming season. Then it all made sense. Carmelo is not in the game to win titles, he wants to get paid. And that is fine, and that is his right. But now that he is about to be let go, and free to play anywhere next year, I have had to laugh at his preferred teams to go to. The 2 main teams are the Lakers and Rockets. I would absolutely love to see him sign with either one of these teams because I am not a fan of either one of these teams.
If he were to go to the Rockets, and Chris Paul is angling super hard for him to come there, and his contract is outrageous too by the way, how does he fit in with that team? Yes, he used to be able to shoot, but just look at last season. Also, would he be Ariza's replacement? Ariza actually plays solid defense, and at this point in their careers, Ariza is a better player. Also, would he be happy being the fourth, possibly fifth option in Houston? He wasn't happy being third in OKC. In Houston he would be behind Harden, Paul, Capela, Eric Gordon and maybe even Luc Mbah A Moute. How would that sit with him? How would he act in the locker room and with the media? Oh, and didn't we already see the disaster that was Carmelo playing on a Mike D'Antoni team a few years ago? We did, and it was terrible. This would be a poor signing.
Then we have the Lakers. As far as needing shooters, it makes sense. The Lakers have no shooters whatsoever. They gave LeBron a ton of money, and he deserves every penny. But, he is not a great outside shooter. He doesn't have to be. But, they have signed guys like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and Javale McGee. None of those guys can shoot the ball. They currently have Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram on their roster. Ingram is the best "shooter" of the bunch, and he hit just above 35 percent from three. So, adding Carmelo would make sense. But, I say again, look at how poor he was last year as a shooter. Also, how would he feel being a fifth or sixth option on this Lakers team? How would he feel having to defer to guys that are a decade younger than he is? I feel like he would hate it. The moment that Luke Walton puts in Kyle Kuzma over Carmelo, we all know he'd lose his god damn mind. I'm sure he wants to team up with LeBron, but would this version of Carmelo be any better than what we saw last year with LeBron and Jeff Green? Hell, I feel like Jeff Green, right now, is a better basketball player than Carmelo. If he were to go to the Lakers, I feel like he would look like an older version of what we saw with Jae Crowder while he was in Cleveland last year. But, the Lakers are the team I want him to go to because I think it would be absolutely hilarious. It would be a total wreck, and I would love every single second of it.
Carmelo Anthony is washed up, and I feel like everyone knows it, except for him. I'm very curious to see where he ends up, but I already know that he will be a non factor wherever he is. Get that money while you still can Carmelo. Hopefully he gets it from a team with no title aspirations though.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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