We are officially at a dead point in the NBA offseason. Tommy Sheppard has basically finalized his roster, but it seems he may be opening a couple up for auditions. While the team may stick to younger player, or perhaps glue-guy veterans, one tantalizing player remains in the free agency pool – Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony, 35, spent 10 games with the Houston Rockets last season before they mutually decided to part ways. Since his arrival in New York, things haven’t gone his way, and that’s putting it nicely. While he has put up All-Star numbers throughout his career, he has been called, selfish, lazy, and a loser. The Knicks eventually traded him to Oklahoma City to play with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, only to have him traded once again after just one season.
Anthony entered this offseason facing doubts about his career and whether or not he can positively impact an NBA team. The Los Angeles Lakers have always been seen as that landing spot for him, though if it hasn’t happened at this point, it’s not going to happen at all. The Lakers also have solid depth all around their roster, though they just lost DeMarcus Cousins to an ACL tear.
It’s hard to place just exactly where Melo might fit in, but let’s take a look at the Wizards and see if there’s a potential match. Last offseason, the Wizards were interested in signing Carmelo Anthony but he opted to go with Houston instead. At the time, the Wiz could’ve had a pretty entertaining starting five of John Wall-Bradley Beal-Otto Porter-Carmelo Anthony-Dwight Howard. While the Wiz don’t have as interesting a roster as they do now, and quite frankly, on paper, I think it’s worse, there could still potentially be an opportunity for him to make the team.
Let’s address the elephant in the room here before we dive into some potential positives – Carmelo Anthony isn’t a great defender. The Wizards have not been a great defensive team. Don’t care – moving on.
The Wizards don’t have a proven scorer on the team right now outside of Bradley Beal and I guess Thomas Bryant. Isaiah Thomas should provide a decent chunk of scoring, and he seems healthy, but we just don’t know for sure yet. Why not add some extra scoring? We talk all the time about how the Wizards are at their best when they can get out and run in transition. Anthony would be great at trailing on the break for threes at the top of the key. He also is still a dog in the post and can get a bucket from anywhere on the floor. Another veteran presence may help this team, even if he ultimately ends up playing a smaller role off the bench. For the record, I would start him.
Anthony is also a DMV native, growing up in Baltimore. It would be a good market for his brand and I’m sure Anthony would draw some eyes on TV’s and money for tickets. With a complete culture overhaul led by Ted Leonsis and Tommy Sheppard, Anthony has a chance to really show he can still play with the best of the best in the NBA, and play out one of his last seasons drama free.
The problem with potentially signing him is there really just isn’t a roster spot. Sure the Wizards may release a couple of their non-guaranteed contracts (they just released Tarik Phillip the other day), but where on the depth chart does Melo fit? CJ Miles and Troy Brown will certainly take all the time at SF. You don’t bench Troy Brown to stunt his growth, especially when you’re attempting to rebuild your roster. And you just used a trade exception to trade for Miles. He doesn’t just rot on the bench. Not to mention Miles is a knockdown shooter and that will be very valuable to Washington.
At PF, it doesn’t look any better. Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans are both quality guys that will take up burn. Neither of those guys are going to get benched for Melo. Scott Brooks shouldn’t do it either.
Carmelo Anthony and the Wizards seem like a nice match. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a spot for him to slide into and get some decent playing time. Miles will miss some games due to foot surgery, but when he comes back, he’s going to be valuable. Carmelo would just be the odd man out. While he can still play, Carmelo Anthony just isn’t a fit for the Wizards right now, but he does deserve another shot to play in the NBA. The negative noise is overblown and he just needs an opportunity – it just won’t be here.