After the Thunder’s season ended with a first-round loss, Carmelo Anthony said, “It wasn’t no strategy to me being here, me being a part of the actual system.”
Headed to the Rockets (via the Hawks), Anthony is elaborating.
Anthony, via Jemele Hill of ESPN:
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t a good fit,” he said. “I think last year — and I haven’t talked about this before — everything was just so rushed, going to the team for media day and the day before training camp. Them guys already had something in place, and then I come along in the 25th hour like, oh s—, Melo just come on and join us. Like, you can figure it out since you’ve been around the game for a long time. That’s why it was so inconsistent. At times, I had to figure it out on my own rather than somebody over there or people over there helping me.”
This make it sounds like a simple predicament happened to Anthony. In reality, he has more culpability in a more complex problem.
Anthony spent most of last offseason with the Knicks trying to leverage his no-trade clause to get to Houston. He didn’t add Oklahoma City to his list of acceptable destinations until a few days before training camp. That was certainly his right, but he also experienced the downside.
He didn’t make it much easier for the Thunder once he arrived. Though he often tried hard to complement Russell Westbrook and Paul George, Anthony refused the move that offered the best hope of balancing everything – him coming off the bench.
Commonly, players get traded mid-season, join their new team and hit the ground running. Sure, there are difficulties in transition. But players – especially experienced players, like Anthony – often make it work on the fly.
Anthony couldn’t in Oklahoma City, and I doubt it was all about timing. Obviously, he at least somewhat agreed.
He could have given Billy Donovan a full offseason to build a plan. Instead, Anthony – still holding that no-trade clause – approved a deal to Atlanta contingent on the Hawks waiving him, allowing him to sign with the Rockets. He was ready to move on rather than run it back with the Thunder.
Again, he’s entitled to do that. But I suspect Anthony’s biggest problem last season – not the rushed timeline, but his approach to the game – will follow him to Houston.