“I love Carmelo, but he wouldn’t be healthy for the program.”

“I love Carmelo, but he wouldn’t be healthy for the program.”

Carmelo Anthony can’t get a win. After his sudden departure from the Rockets, Melo has been waiting for a team to call him up and ask about his services. The call never came. He stayed in shape, ready to suit up but there was no interest. At the same time, Wade and Nowitzki were getting love from every arena, Melo was releasing workout videos. 

Anthony took initiative and opened up to Steven A. on First Take. He talked about the way things ended in Houston, he admitted he made a mistake when he didn’t opt for a flexible contract and lost the chance to team up with LeBron and Wade in 2010. Carmelo realized his OKC press conference about coming off the bench labeled him as a superstar unaware of his position in the new NBA landscape. He always envisioned he would end a LeBron-like career. Now he has to be more like Vince Carter. 

According to everything Carmelo said, he accepted that reality. But, it seems that moment came too late. His latest attempt was to try and go back to a place where he had some of his best basketball days – Team USA. For a long time teams wondered “If only we could get USA Melo and not NBA Melo.” When you show everyone you can be that player, but come back to the NBA and don’t play that way then it seems you make a choice not to be USA Melo in the NBA. That reputation is hard to shake. (via The Athletic):

“First of all, I had a great relationship with Melo. He did a great job. He actually might have been as good or better in international play as he was in the NBA. Point is, he was very good in international play,” Colangelo said. “I understood why the agent, he’s looking to get him the exposure, looking to get him another shot. But the only way (Anthony) can really be satisfied is for him to have another shot in the NBA, with another team and recently, he’s been aggressive media-wise, letting people know, ‘I feel like I can still play. I just need an opportunity, blah, blah, blah.’ With us, that would’ve been more of a distraction, as we discussed it. We need to focus on this team concept. We have a bunch of new guys and we’re going to go with this new group. And when you insert a different element and it detracts in any way, you lose it. That was it. That’s no reflection on Carmelo. I love the guy. But I don’t think it would’ve been healthy for our program at this time.”

In his interview with Steven A., Melo said all the right things. He is willing to be that veteran guy on the bench, an experienced player mentoring the young stars. He knows what he did wrong and can put his ego to the side. But his past, and the media attention and narrative that comes with it is something he can’s shake.