Carmelo Anthony doesn’t deserve to go out like this

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Carmelo Anthony
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

If you scan the comments on Carmelo Anthony’s most recent Instagram posts, you’ll find a pocket of fans who still vehemently endorse the 10x All-Star.

A number of fans are clamoring for a comeback, possibly to the New York Knicks, a prospect that was not ruled out by Anthony himself when asked by Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. 

Could Carmelo Anthony re-join the Knicks if Kevin Durant signs with New York this summer?

The former Knicks’ star isn’t ruling it out.

“I have to see what’s going on,” he said with a smile when asked by SNY.tv on Sunday at the Nike EYBL stop here.

It must remain refreshing for Melo to still receive a heavy dose of praise on his social media platforms from his diehards because it’s been quite the contrary in other corners of the basketball world.

When Anthony was shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder to team up with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, we had hoped we would be getting a formidable trio that could shake things up in the Western Conference and position themselves to pose a serious threat to the Golden State Warriors.

Instead, we watched Anthony grapple with his fit on the Thunder, shoot a career-low 40% in the regular season and an even grosser 37% in the playoffs as OKC flamed out in a six-game series to the upstart Utah Jazz.

To make matters worse, Melo was chided by the public all summer long. Many viewed him as the main culprit in Oklahoma City’s surprising playoff unraveling, and besides that large sector of Day 1 Melo fans, he was cast to the wayside by mostly everyone else in the hoops universe.

…Except for the Houston Rockets that is.

After an entire offseason of healthy speculation (and a three-team trade involving the Thunder, 76ers, and Hawks, who ended up with Melo only to waive him), our hunches were confirmed when Rockets GM Daryl Morey announced the signing of Anthony on Twitter in mid-August.

The hope was that Houston would offer Anthony a setting where he could recalibrate and close out the final phase of his career on agreeable terms.

Far from fruition, all ambitions for Melo vanished as the Rockets got off to an uneven start, going 1-5 in their first six contests.

Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo’s tenure in Houston was rough. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Carmelo only appeared in 10 games for Houston, averaging 13 points a game on 40% shooting. Teams smoked Rockets by upwards of 116 points per 100 possessions with Anthony manning the court, and his offense was often inefficient and empty.

On Nov. 15 Morey again took to Twitter to report that the Rockets and Anthony had “parted ways,” but that he would still remain on the roster. Anthony was shipped to the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 22, who then proceeded to waive him on Feb. 1.

There were whispers that Anthony could possibly latch on to a championship contender to end the season, but all was hushed on that front as the season dribbled on by and Anthony remained a free agent.

Several remain adamant that Anthony’s playing days in the NBA aren’t over, and I’m rooting for him to get one more crack at redemption to not only wrap up his career with dignity but to also restore respect to his Hall of Fame name.

Some will be eager to state that Anthony’s stubbornness has been his undoing, as he possessed an unrelenting desire to have things done his way throughout his career.

Others will cite Anthony’s unwillingness to adapt and his advanced age as two other key factors that have caused his ship to sink over its last two stops, and all of those are fair rebuttals.

At the same time, Anthony is a legend. One that has been ostracized (in some cases unfairly), mocked, ridiculed, slandered, shaded and scorned by most.

We laugh when we see training videos of him infiltrate our timelines and people hint at the idea that he’s still a bucket. It’s like that Grand Theft Auto “Ah s*it here we go again,” meme.

We scoff at the notion that he can meaningfully contribute to an NBA franchise in 2019 and beyond. The public has flaked on Anthony as if he’s not someone that’s to be forever remembered in this game.

People neglect the fact that this is a man that has scored over 25,000 career points, clinched a scoring championship in 2013, is the all-time leader in USA Basketball points, rebounds, and games played, and is a three-time Gold Medalist.

Not to mention that he led the Syracuse Orange to a National Championship as a freshman in 2003, in addition to being named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.

Anthony has been a fixture in basketball since that run, and his name is forever woven into the fabric of hoops. The man is owed his props, and shouldn’t go out getting blasted or scapegoated at every turn he makes.

His greatness may be a notches lower than that of LeBron James, but that fact is true for many that have graced the NBA’s hardwoods. There should be no indictment for that.

Anthony may have never reached the championship heights of Dwyane Wade, but it’s rare for an NBA player to do so, let alone three times in a career.

It’s unfair to penalize Anthony for failing to reach the heights of his 2003 draft class contemporaries because he still established greatness in his own right. If you don’t believe me check the numbers, check the tapes.

Carmelo Anthony didn’t become a household name by accident.

Photo via: Instagram (@CP3)

No player other than James deserves a farewell tour like Kobe Bryant, and truthfully, as a Lakers fan, that was one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever endured. I don’t know if that’s ever worth running back.

If so, only under extreme circumstances, ie: a LeBron James.

What I think Carmelo is owed is a comfortable basketball backdrop where he can bow out gracefully, and I think (I can’t believe I’m typing this), the New York Knicks can provide him with that.

If anyone is equipped to inherit and thrive in the chaos that is imminent in playing with the Knicks and their rabid fan and media base, it’s Anthony. He’s strolled around these blocks before, yet this time he returns with a firmer understanding of how to navigate this space.

To me, Anthony saying “I have to see what’s going on,” when asked about a Knicks reunion is the remix of “I gotta see who’s all gonna be over there,” which I can understand. He’s not going to set himself up for failure and have his legacy tarnished any further.

If the Knicks’ roster remains on the youthful side and devoid of superstar talent, maybe Anthony does come back to mentor the youngsters while hoisting up as many shots as he wants.

Let’s say the Knicks’ ventures this offseason does indeed net them Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as has been rumored, could we finally see Melo pivot to a bench role to help a pack an additional scoring punch to the second unit of a potential contender?

We’ll have to see how the summer plays out and what suitors (if any) present themselves to Anthony in the following months, but if the Knicks are one of those parties, it should be a no-brainer for Carmelo Anthony.

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