It seems like just yesterday we were witnessing Hoodie Melo putting in some serious offseason work preparing for his departure from the New York Knicks. Apparently hitting wide open jumpers in a practice gym isn’t a predictor of future success in the NBA. Who would’ve guessed? You can blame social media and all the memes for that. Regardless, it looks like regular Carmelo has finally gotten over himself and accepted the harsh reality that he’s a third or fourth option on a championship team at this point in his career. Personally, I’m glad Melo has become more realistic about his career trajectory and I’m sure prospecting teams are too. Let’s face it, would you really want this overpaid clown single-handedly destroying your championship chemistry?
Apparently, Sam Presti and company in the OKC front office didn’t find this as funny as Carmelo did. After averaging career lows in field goal percentage and points (40% and 16 PPG respectively), it was clearly time for the Thunder to move on. Carmelo was forced to become a spot-up shooter in OKC leaving the ball-handling (and hogging) duties to Russel Westbrook. In his prime, Anthony made a living playing iso ball. This obviously didn’t translate well to Billy Donovan’s new and improved offensive system of letting Westbrook take 40 shots a game. Fast forward a few months and now Anthony’s biggest problem is two-fold. First, figure out which team has the most comfortable benches in the association, and second, who in the world is going to pick him up with his ridiculous contract? ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the news of Carmelo’s exit strategy earlier this week.
Thunder are working on trade scenarios where Anthony, 34, would be moved as an expiring contract and be waived, becoming a free agent once his $28M clears waivers. OKC needs the Anthony’s permission to waive no-trade clause, which he has done to facilitate his exit, sources said. https://t.co/1p6hoBvTIs
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 10, 2018
As of now, it seems like the two front-runners for Carmelo are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets. Anthony is most likely looking for a mini banana boat reunion with either of his buddies Chris Paul or Lebron James. At this point in his career, Anthony needs a floor general that can put him in a position to be most effective.
Maybe playing third fiddle behind Chris Paul and James Harden is just what the doctor ordered for a career that’s already on life support. Carmelo is already familiar with head coach Mike D’Antoni from his days playing in New York. As long as Melo doesn’t forget to bring his inhaler, I think we could see a resurgence in his numbers getting up shots in D’Antoni’s fast-paced system. Another bonus is that D’Antoni, Harden, and Carmelo don’t give a damn about playing defense, so at least the trio will have something to bond over in training camp. The Rockets have already moved Trevor Ariza to the Suns and Luc Mbah Moute to the Clippers in a likely attempt to clear some cap room. They also have yet to re-sign Clint Capella who is looking for a $100 million payday after his breakout season.
Los Angeles Lakers
As for the Lakers situation, Anthony has already expressed that he would love playing with Lebron. The Lakers are in dire need of perimeter scoring and Carmelo could be the missing piece to take the pressure off James in late game situations. Even shooting an abysmal 40% from the field is an upgrade over the Laker’s newest acquisition of the Brick Brothers Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo. Either way, being able to play alongside the best player in the world is a definite upgrade given his situation. Plus, he and Lebron can take subtle jabs at each other on social media every time the team goes on a losing streak. If you haven’t seen Anthony’s most recent social media sensitivity you should definitely take a look. NBA fans got a sneak peek into Carmelo’s midlife crisis after being compared to sharpshooter Kyle Korver on twitter. With Lebron’s knack for playing team mom, coach, and GM, if we don’t see an uptick in Anthony’s game, we’ll most certainly see an increase in locker room drama.