Carmelo Anthony joined the Thunder last September as both a star in decline and a valuable piece for a team hoping to contend for a championship. A disappointing regular season and early postseason exit later, Anthony’s future in Oklahoma City is murky and he lacks self-awareness of his own decline, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes.
“I think everybody knows that I’ve sacrificed kind of damned near everything … sacrificed my game for the sake of the team and was willing to sacrifice anything and everything in order for this situation to work out,” Anthony said at his end of season media session. “So it’s something I really have to think about, if I really want to … finish out my career as this type of player, knowing that I have so much left in the tank and I bring so much to the game of basketball.”
The reality is, Anthony shot a career-worst 40.4% from the field, averaged below 20.0 PPG for the first time in his career, and was a virtual non-factor in the playoffs. Anthony also vocalized that he will not take a bench role next season. With declining skills paired with the belief he is still elite, Anthony could be suiting up for a new team next season if he agrees to a buyout or declines his $28MM option.
Check out more Northwest Division notes below:
- In a separate column, Tramel writes about Anthony’s time with the Thunder, suggesting that – despite a few notable contributions – it’s likely over for him in Oklahoma City.
- Erik Horne of The Oklahoman examined four pressing questions that Thunder general manager Sam Presti will have to address this offseason. Among those is Anthony’s future, Billy Donovan‘s coaching, Paul George‘s future in Oklahoma City, and how much better Russell Westbrook can be.
- Brad Rock of The Deseret News writes that Jazz coach Quin Snyder is further cementing his case as one of the NBA’s smartest coaches as Utah spars with the Rockets in the second round of the playoffs.
- Michael Rand of the Star Tribune writes that Jamal Crawford opting out of his deal with the Timberwolves was likely the best-case scenario for both sides. The 38-year-old, Rand writes, is neither an efficient player or a defensively strong one. Conversely, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune ponders whether Crawford opting out signals trouble for Minnesota’s efforts to attract solid bench options.
- While the Timberwolves ended a 13-year postseason drought this season, things were not all that great behind the scenes, per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Minnesota reached the playoffs, has several star players, and revenue is up from previous seasons but that hasn’t helped matters. “There should be a ton to celebrate, right? Just on the surface. You look at those things. But I’m telling you, there is so much angst, and I’m telling you, disconnect behind the scenes,” Wolfson said.
- Sean Deveney of Sporting News previewed the Timberwolves‘ offseason, which will include decisions on current players and possible free agents.