Former New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony wants to bow out of the NBA like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade before him. Will anyone afford him that chance?
Only two full NBA seasons have passed since the New York Knicks moved on from Carmelo Anthony, when he went to the Oklahoma City Thunder via trade for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and what became the rights to Mitchell Robinson in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Anthony’s underwhelming tenure in Oklahoma City lasted just one year, and he attempted to play with Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, only to be ousted after 10 games, two of which came off the bench. He did not play after a 1-for-11 performance on Nov. 8.
2019 NBA free agency is also one month past its opening, and Anthony remains unsigned. Whether anyone signs him at this point, so late into team building for the upcoming season, is in question. Perhaps, he played his last game.
However, the former Knicks star wants one more go-around — a farewell tour, à la what Kobe Bryant had in 2016 and 2019, respectively. His trainer, Chris Brickley, said to The Breakfast Club he just wants to “do what D-Wade did” (h/t CBS Sports):
"“Yes, given the situation. Allen Iverson, if you remember. He kind of got, some people say, blackballed. He got into a situation in his career, where teams would be like, ‘Oh, he’s gonna want this role, so we’re gonna stay away.’ I think that’s what’s going on with Melo right now. He’s easily better than 60 percent, 70 percent of NBA players walking around. It’s just I think teams are afraid of, ‘I want to be the star,’ or ‘I want this.’ That’s not the case, though. Melo just wants to have a final season, a farewell season, do what D-Wade did. Do the jersey swap. He had a great career, he’s a Hall of Famer. So, hopefully that can happen.”"
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard also supported the idea of Anthony receiving his farewell run:
NBA training camp is still roughly two months away, so Anthony can have his chance at one more season if something changes. The offseason always provides twists, and a team wanting veteran help may add him for the veteran’s minimum for the 2019-20 season.
The New York Knicks are a fun concept for this to happen. Anthony spent his prime years with the organization and could have his jersey number retired down the road, but with a full, 15-man roster, this is unlikely, unless someone leaves via trade or waivers.
One last run would be the chance for Anthony to end on his own terms, rather than being shown the door by the rest of the NBA. The back-end of his career can be remembered fondly, rather than these past 12 months, and let him ride into the Hall of Fame sunset.