“After much internal discussion, the Rockets will be parting ways with Carmelo Anthony and we are working toward a resolution,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said in a statement. “Carmelo had a tremendous approach during his time with the Rockets and accepted every role head coach Mike D’Antoni gave him. The fit we envisioned when Carmelo chose to sign with the Rockets has not materialized, therefore we thought it was best to move on as any other outcome would have been unfair to him.”
Anthony signed with the Rockets for the veteran’s minimum this summer after he was traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder and subsequently waived by the Atlanta Hawks. He immediately accepted a bench role in Houston, but the team’s come out of the gates playing poorly on both sides of the ball poorly with a 5-7 record. Part of the solution, in the Rockets’ eyes, is to get rid of him. That’s where we’re at with Carmelo Anthony.
There was some dispute over whether Anthony was really gone from Houston on Sunday night prior to the Rockets’ win over the Pacers. The New York Times’ Marc Stein originally reported that Melo had been told “his brief time in Houston would be ending soon,” but the team, and more directly general manager Daryl Morey denied it. Morey addressed the media and said he expected Anthony back in the rotation upon his return from an illness that kept him out of the team’s game against Indiana.
Daryl Morey says Melo is really sick. “I would expect him to be playing when he’s healthy.” pic.twitter.com/kDjy6jgZkz— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 11, 2018
That, of course, never happened.
(It should also be noted that Houston looked as good as last season in the 12-point win without him, draining 20-of-46 threes.)
Why are the Rockets waiving Anthony?
For the obvious reason that he is no longer a good NBA player. Anthony’s had a lauded career as one of the league’s best scorers, but there’s little trace of that form of himself left.
He’s scoring a career-worst 13.4 points per game at his lowest per 100 possession rate. That means his scoring rate isn’t the lowest it’s ever been merely because he’s playing the fewest minutes of his career, he’s shooting poorly, too. He’s firing at just 40.5 percent from the field (on pace for the second-worst of his career) and a brutal 32.8 percent from 3-point range.
And his defense ... is just as bad as always.
Simply put, modern basketball hasn’t allowed Melo to age gracefully.
What’s Anthony going to do next?
That’s a tough question. After two stints in OKC and Houston gone horribly wrong, he’s going to struggle to find another interested party.
Anthony might need to sit on the sidelines for a few months before someone can convince themselves he’s worth another try.
And he might need to consider the idea that nobody will reach that point again.