Carmelo Anthony has verbally agreed to sign with the Houston Rockets. I know that I have been hard on Anthony lately, and today will be no different. But, all the hate will not be thrown his way, the Rockets are going to take the brunt of it today.
Lets get the Carmelo hate out of the way first. As I stated about a week or so ago, Carmelo is washed. He is no good to any team anymore. He is a horrendous defender. He is not nearly the lethal scorer. He is still not willing to come off the bench. He still thinks he is a top 15-20 NBA player. All of this is crazy. As I have stated many times, I used to love Carmelo. When he was in Denver, he was must watch TV. But, for about the last 4 or 5 years, he has become a shell of the player he once was. He is a joke. Sure, there a tons and tons of videos of him hitting jump shots in rec league games and pickup games and playing one on one against other pros, but so what. Any player worth their salt can do the exact same thing, and do it better. In one of the videos I saw, where he played with Chris Paul and James Harden, his new teammates, he did nothing that impressed me. In fact, what I noticed most was his unwillingness to pass the ball. The video was about 90 seconds long, and every single time he touched the ball, he shot it. I mean, even Harden was dishing it here and there. Also, Carmelo was trying much, much harder than any of those other guys on the court. Then this morning I saw him playing one on one against Brandon Jennings, and then Stanley Johnson. Those are not big name guys, and while he was scoring at will, so were Jennings and Johnson. Johnson was beating him up, and Jennings was hitting step back after step back on him. Jennings is about 5 inches shorter than Carmelo.
Had this latest Carmelo move happened a few years back, when the Big Three in Miami broke up, I would have been stoked. The fact that he is joining the Rockets now, I just see it messing up what they did so well last season. Which leads me to my Rockets hate portion today.
Last year the Houston Rockets had one of the best offseason, and trade deadline moves. They picked up Paul in the offseason. He was the big name on the free agent market last year. They got him to come in and play alongside Harden, and it worked so well. They also picked up PJ Tucker, and he added the exact toughness that the team needed. He can also hit the corner three, so that was just an added bonus. They also integrated Clint Capela perfectly. He became the perfect big man for their pick and roll that they love to run. They also started to phase out Ryan Anderson because he is now a defensive, and quite frankly, an offensive liability. They crushed it last year.
This offseason and summer has been the exact opposite for the Rockets. They let Trevor Ariza leave. I know they weren't going to be able to give him all the money they wanted, but they could have tried to work with him. They decided not to, and now he is gone. Then after he left, they gave Chris Paul a 4 year 140 million dollar deal. I know, again, they had to do this, but this deal is going to look absolutely awful next season. They gave him a max deal that is really only viable for one season. Paul is continually hurt, especially in the playoffs, and he is a very tough teammate by all accounts. He will also be in his mid to late thirties when the deal is in the final year, and they will have to pay him the 30 million plus. That is a disaster. They then made Capela wait and wait and wait for a deal. This apparently upset him, which is never good for the future, and by all accounts, they were only a minuscule amount of money apart, but this was where they decided to not budge. They dumped money on Chris Paul's lap, who is almost my age, but they waited to give their center, who is one of the better modern centers in the game, and who happens to also be very young, his contract. If I were Capela, I would still be pissed off.
But, the cherry on top of their crap offseason and summer is the Carmelo news. Why do they want him? Do they really think this is a new Big Three? Why do they need him? What does he add? Did they even watch him play at all last year, or the year before that, or the year before that? He is washed. He is not going to be Olympic Carmelo. That was what everyone thought he would be for the Thunder last year, but after refusing a bench role, he had a disaster of a season. So I just don't get why the Rockets want to do this. As I said awhile back, they were phasing out Ryan Anderson. Now, they basically have a Ryan Anderson clone, who isn't as good a three point shooter. Carmelo is also refusing to come off the bench once again, so for those saying the Rockets will get Olympic Carmelo, that dream is out the window. Carmelo also proved last season that he is not a viable Big Three guy. I know it is hard to play with Russell Westbrook, but he couldn't even coexist with Paul George. George is a decent passer and great defender, and all Carmelo did was bitch about him. Putting him next to Paul and Harden will fare much worse in my opinion. The Rockets proved me wrong last year, when I said that Harden and Paul would fight to be primary ball handlers. But, I have zero doubt that Carmelo will be happy only taking 6-7 shots a game. He will want double figure attempts at least. The Rockets also do not need him. They needed to keep Ariza. Ariza was their best three and D guy. And I know his defense has taken a bit of a step back. But, wait until you get a load of how little Carmelo plays, and cares to play, defense. Rocket fans will be opining big time for Ariza.
Finally, we have already seen a team coached by Mike D'Antoni that featured Carmelo Anthony, and it was a nightmare. They hated each other. They openly expressed their dislike for one another to the media. The system D'Antoni runs does not fit what Carmelo wants to do. I saw a Bleacher Report article that said, "This time it will be different" in reference to Carmelo playing for D'Antoni. I didn't even read the article because that headline was dumb enough. It won't be different. Carmelo Anthony is who he is, and he hast changed since entering the league.
The Rockets had an awful offseason, they will regress this year, and it will be because of Carmelo Anthony. What a stupid decision by the one team that may have actually been able to challenge the Warriors.
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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