Appearing today on ESPN’s First Take, Carmelo Anthony told Stephen A. Smith that the end of his tenure with the Rockets left a bad taste in mouth and made him question whether he wanted to continue trying to play in the NBA (video link).
However, after taking some time off to consider his options, Anthony remains committed to finding a new NBA home, he tells Smith. According to Carmelo, he’s “in the gym every single day” as he works toward a comeback.
“I love the game too much to be away from it,” Anthony said (video link).
During a recent appearance on “The Breakfast Club,” Anthony’s trainer Chris Brickley suggested that the 10-time All-Star wants a “farewell season” like the one Dwyane Wade had. That assertion was met with some criticism, but Anthony made it clear in his conversation on First Take today that the idea of a “farewell season” wasn’t coming from him.
“I never said anything about a farewell tour,” Anthony said, per ESPN. The former All-NBA forward added that he feels as if “there’s too many people speaking on my name, and I don’t like that” (video link).
While Anthony disputed one of Brickley’s claims, he agreed with another — Carmelo’s trainer said during his Breakfast Club appearance that the 35-year-old is ready and willing to play a reduced role, a point Anthony reiterated to Smith.
“What’s going to make me happy is going to a place, playing basketball, enjoying it again, [and] accepting a role that I might not normally have accepted in the past,” Anthony said. “I don’t mind coming off the bench, that’s not an issue with me.”
Asked by Smith which team he might like to join, Anthony didn’t name any specific clubs, but he stressed two priorities — competing for a championship and ideally earning consistent playing time in the process.
“I went to Oklahoma City to try to win a championship. I went to Houston to try to win a championship. The ultimate goal is to win a championship. That’s the only thing left for me to do is to win a championship.” Anthony said (video link). “But I also want to play. I want to get back out there on the court. I miss the game. I was away from the game for damn near a whole season.
“I got an opportunity to step back, I got an opportunity to grow as a person, as a man. And I deserve another shot. I want another shot. I’ll never stop loving the game until I decide to say ‘This is over’ and I can pass that on to somebody else.”
As we noted in our recap of NBA roster counts earlier today, only six of 30 teams currently have 15 (or more) players on fully guaranteed contracts on their rosters, so there could still be some landing spots available to Anthony as training camps approach.