Several players and members of the Rockets’ coaching staff believe that Carmelo Anthony has played his final game for the franchise, sources told ESPN on Sunday.
Anthony has been away from the team for two games with what has been described as an “illness,” and he didn’t join the Rockets on their trip to Denver, sources said.
The Rockets have denied they are waiving Carmelo Anthony, but two sources close to the situation say Anthony has been informed that his brief time with the team will soon be ending. Anthony has been listed as "out" for Houston's game tonight against Indiana due to illness
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 11, 2018
Anthony’s tenure with the Rockets is expected to end after he played in only 10 games, averaging 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent from the floor. He played primarily in a reserve role after starting every game in his previous 15 seasons. He ranks 19th in NBA history with 25,551 career points.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported during Houston’s loss to San Antonio on Saturday night that the Rockets and Anthony were in discussions about his role and how the franchise and veteran might be able to proceed together the rest of the season.
Those discussions happened in the wake of Anthony’s most recent game, a two-point performance on 1-of-11 shooting in a lopsided loss to Oklahoma City.
The Rockets signed Anthony to a one-year deal for the veterans minimum of $2.4 million after he received a buyout from the Atlanta Hawks. Houston hoped Anthony could help the Rockets, who came one win from the NBA Finals last season, contend for a championship again.
Anthony’s spot on the roster is likely to be filled by signing undrafted rookie Gary Clark, currently on a two-way contract, for the minimum. Clark has become a favorite of D’Antoni, earning the bulk of the minutes that were expected to go to Anthony.
I am hearing the @Sixers are kicking the tires on the idea of claiming @carmeloanthony off waivers if the @HoustonRockets let him go. Definite need for Philly, with @dariosaric gone and @mikemuscala the only other option at the 4 right now.
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) November 12, 2018
Rockets star James Harden said he didn’t have enough information to comment about Anthony’s situation, while Chris Paul, who along with Harden helped recruit Anthony over the summer, praised his longtime friend but was vague about Anthony’s future with the Rockets.
Asked if he expected Anthony to help get the 5-7 Rockets going in the right direction, Paul said, “Man, Melo’s a future Hall of Famer, know what I mean? That’s me saying that and knowing that. Like I said, we’ll see what happens.”
Daryl Morey says Melo is really sick. “I would expect him to be playing when he’s healthy.” pic.twitter.com/kDjy6jgZkz
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 11, 2018
Meantime, Twitter has gone ablaze on the subject, with Anthony’s good friend Dwyane Wade among those chiming in.
Trying to make my guy @carmeloanthony the fall guy huh!? Man y’all need to stop. That’s the easy way out instead of addressing what the real problem.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 12, 2018
This is just bad. It never felt right from the get go.