Despite a change of address, Carmelo Anthony says he's not ready to take a role where he comes off the bench. He still wants to be a starter in the NBA.
One of the issues between Carmelo Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder was the role he was asked to play — one where he came off the bench and supported stars, Paul George and Russell Westbrook. And, while Melo may eventually be asked to support Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, he won't do so at the expense of being on the floor when the game begins.
Per Jemele Hill of The Undefeated, Anthony made the following comments in the hours before what is expected to be an announcement Anthony will join the Rockets. He said, "I know how to play this game of basketball. I've been playing it for a long time. When I feel like I'm ready to take that role, then I'll take that role."
Carmelo Anthony was asked about the possibility of coming off the bench and his reaction was hilarious. 😂 pic.twitter.com/NG3Hvv7s64— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) September 25, 2017
In previous interviews, Anthony laughed off the notion of being merely a support player in the NBA. While he opted back into his contract for OKC, it was for financial reasons. He never expected the team would ask him to sit on the sidelines again. So, when the Thunder traded him to Atlanta and the Hawks subsequently bought him out, he was keenly aware some teams didn't think he was starter material any longer. Carmelo disagrees.
"Only I know when it's best for me to take that role," he said. He added that while he understands his numbers in Oklahoma last year were the worst of his NBA career, he contends it was not for a lack of skill but a direct result of what he was asked to do. He added that being judged on those few months where his numbers dipped is what hurts the most. "And at the end of the day, the people who really matter know my capabilities and what I can still do.”
It has to be assumed Carmelo has spoken extensively with the Rockets and he believes they are a team that has faith in him. If the speculation is true he's about to sign with the franchise, he may get to have his cake and eat it too.
He'll be a starter on a good team with a better-than-good chance of winning games.