Carmelo Anthony has not played in an NBA game in almost nine months. The first month of free agency has come and gone without him landing on a new team.
The New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets have unceremoniously dumped him in the past two years. To many players, this would be a signal to retire.
But in a wide-ranging interview on ESPN’s “First Take,” Anthony fought back. He revealed that he wants to keep playing in the NBA, saying “I love the game too much to get away from it.” That is not limited to a one-year retirement tour either, as his trainer Chris Brickley recently suggested. “I’ve never even thought about a farewell tour,” Anthony explained. “I’ve thought about this being my last year, but that was at the time I was really emotionally vulnerable at that point in time. Now I feel like I still could play, I know I still could play, my peers know I still could play.”
While Anthony did not say so explicitly, the implication was that he feels he deserves more than a send-off. He says he believes he can still help an NBA team, and that he can do so over multiple years. He is even willing to accept a lesser role if that’s what it takes to do so. “I don’t think it’s about basketball anymore.” Anthony said, “I think it’s about me as a person willing to accept certain roles on a basketball team. Am I willing to accept a certain role on a basketball team? Yes. I’d gotten to a point in Houston where I had to accept that role, and I was just getting into accepting that role.”
That sort of change wasn’t something he was prepared for in Oklahoma City, claiming “I had to accept a role I wasn’t willing to accept at that point and time.” His Rockets stint, in his eyes, was marred by poor communication.
“I wasn’t willing to accept that role of coming off the bench in Houston because that never was relayed to me. It was ‘you are the piece that we need to get us over the hump and win a championship.’ I went in with that mentality. ‘We need Melo to come in here and get us over this.’ I watched the previous year. I saw where I can plug myself in there, and I really believed that we were gonna do that. But when I get there, it was something totally different. The dialogue started getting less and less. There was no more conversation. It was just doing it, and then I got to react to the things that are being done.”