There seemed to be two large constituents in the NBA Twittersphere this offseason when the Houston Rockets became the frontrunners to sign former Oklahoma City Thunder star Carmelo Anthony.
On one side, you had detractors saying that Anthony was not as useful on offense as he used to be, and that he was a poor defender. On the other side were Carmelo die-hards, insistent that his iso-heavy style would play right into what made the Rockets so puzzlingly great on offense last year.
Now it appears as though the Rockets are siding with the former.
Anthony sat out Saturday’s game against the Sacramento Kings due to what the team called illness. He will reportedly also sit out Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers for the same reason.
And according to a report from The New York Times, Anthony will not be with the Rockets for much longer.
This is perhaps one of the wildest developments of the NBA season, and that’s saying something considering that it took until the middle of November for the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers.
It makes sense that the Rockets would want to part ways with Anthony. Houston is just 4-7 on the season, and are not in the playoff standings in the Western Conference at this moment. They have struggled mightily on both sides of the ball, including on offense where Anthony would feasibly make any impact.
Carmelo has been unable to make a mark for the Rockets this year, and despite taking more 3-pointers he has often reverted to taking a one-dribble, one-step jumper just inside the arc. The reality is that Anthony is a below-replacement level player and he doesn’t seem to want to play within the system that Mike D’Antoni has set for this team.
For their part, the Rockets have so far denied this report from Marc Stein. Speaking to reporters before Sunday’s game GM Daryl Morey said he expects Anthony to return when he’s back to being healthy, and that he has done everything the coaching staff has asked of him.
It would not surprise me if we hear of some personal issues between Carmelo and the coaching staff as this story develops. D’antoni and Anthony did not exactly get along when the two were with the New York Knicks together earlier this decade, and this short hook appears to indicate something outside of just poor performance.
No word yet on how the Rockets propose to dispose of Anthony, or where he might end up next, but I know what you’re all thinking: Future Los Angeles Laker Carmelo Anthony.
Has a nice ring to it.