By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
In a free agent pool with plenty of fish still waiting to get picked, it seems like NBA teams are avoiding Carmelo Anthony.
But after his journey over the last two years — being traded to numerous teams, bought out and ultimately being released by the Houston Rockets ten games into the 2018-19 season, recent rumors state new Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are pushing for management to sign the 10 time All-Star. With Anthony himself acknowledging his interest in signing, the idea of “Hoodie Melo” in a Nets uniform would not only help revive his career, but potentially put him in a position to change his legacy.
In an interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s First Take last month, Melo said his loyalty to the Knicks franchise and desire to build a winning team around him were the reasons he stayed with the Knicks longer than he should have. That was back when he was arguably a top 10 player in the league and the main focal point of an offense. Now, it seems he realizes he has to accept a smaller role, which could be beneficial for the Nets short- and long-term plans.
Brooklyn made tremendous progress last season, making the playoffs behind All Star D’Angelo Russell and potent players Joe Harris, Jared Allen, Caris LeVert, whom just signed a three year, $52 million extension. The offseason, however, was one to remember in Nets franchise history. Brooklyn landed the biggest free agent names on the market, bringing in Durant, Irving, and DeAndre Jordan to create a new “Big 3”. The team also added veteran forward Wilson Chandler to the team, who was recently suspended 25 games this season for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.
NBA legend and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal gave his stamp of approval to the Nets’ new roster to Heavy.com writer and host of “Scoop B Radio” Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson. In Shaq’s opinion, the signings and playoff success now gives New York hoops fans something to talk about outside of the Knicks.
“Jay-Z gave them a little steam when he said he was the owner,” said O’Neal on Scoop B Radio. “He’s going to be there with KD, so they should make a lot of noise. The only unfortunate part is, for the first time in New York history, the Knicks aren’t the important team. That’s kind of funny to me.”
Melo would provide instant offense for the Nets. He’s averaged 24 PPG for his career, put up 16 points per game during his season in Oklahoma City as a third option behind Paul George and Russell Westbrook and averaged 13 in his 10 games with the Rockets. In joining the new Nets roster, Anthony would play a role similar to his time with the Thunder, serving as potentially the main perimeter scoring option in the second unit. He would also have the opportunity to be the second leading scorer behind Irving, with Durant out for the season due to a torn Achillies. Robinson told WARR Media Melo can be a good addition for the long-term, even when KD comes back.
“If Melo were to join, he’d offer veteran leadership,” Robinson said. “He knows New York and the fans having played for the Knicks. He also has a rapport with Irving and Durant.”
Melo recently called Irving and Durant “family” and that “playing with them would be bigger than basketball,” according to TMZ Sports. He also mentioned in his First Take interview that he wanted to accomplish his goal of bringing a championship to New York and more specifically, the Knicks.
Like Durant and Irving, Melo joining the Nets could create an additional element to his legacy that might feature not only his first championship, but bringing the Nets, long the second tier team in New York, their first title as well. This would elevate his Hall of Fame career to another level, and change his legacy from arguably a top five scorer in league history to being remembered as Melo the winner.
It only takes one championship to get respect. He will never win a championship for the Knicks, but winning a championship with the Nets would still fulfill his goal of bringing a championship to New York and only enhance his legendary status as a NBA player.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Senior Writer for WARR Media