Chauncey Billups on why Carmelo Anthony isn't in the NBA: 'Scoring 30 meant too much to Melo'

Johnny Flores Jr.Yahoo Sports Contributor
Carmelo Anthony last saw game action as a member of the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/houston/" data-ylk="slk:Houston Rockets">Houston Rockets</a>. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Carmelo Anthony last saw game action as a member of the Houston Rockets. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Carmelo Anthony hasn’t played since November and former teammate Chauncey Billups may have a reason why that may be the case.

Speaking on SiriusXM’s NBA radio, Billups shared how Anthony’s mindset has led him to being a free agent.

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“I’ll tell you what, it’s so crazy — I feel bad for [Carmelo Anthony] and here’s why. ‘Melo was like a good teammate, man. ‘Melo practiced every day. He didn’t miss any games. Now, the only thing I will say — and I’ve even told ‘Melo this — scoring 30 [points] meant too much to ‘Melo. It meant too much because he could have games where he had 20, 22 [points], we win the game and he’s mad. He might have 36 and he’s in there, you know — we lose the game and he’s in there picking everybody up.”

This mindset has prevented Anthony from being willing to take on a backup role, something that is needed if he’d like to return.

“Scoring 30 meant too much, but I think now you fast forward the tape and the reason why he’s not in the league — because he’s still worthy — is he hasn’t mentally taken that step back to say, ‘OK, I’ll come in and play against back-ups. I’ll try to help the team out. I know I might not be able to close, but I just want to help.’ Well, he’s not there yet.”

Billups’ take is certainly harsh, but honest. Perhaps no one is better equipped to speak out about Anthony’s inability to find a team than Billups, who played alongside him on the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks.

Anthony has not played since November 2018

Last year, Anthony signed with the Houston Rockets on a veteran minimum deal. It was seen as Anthony’s last shot to prove his value and the pairing of himself alongside James Harden and Chris Paul was highly anticipated, but ended in misery.

Anthony played just 10 games for the Rockets before head general manager Daryl Morey announced that the team would part ways with the forward. He continued to remain with the team until January when he was traded to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls later waived Anthony and he hasn’t played since.

In his 10 games with the Rockets, Anthony averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in a primarily backup role.

While Anthony’s tenure with the Rockets ended less than desirably, Morey praised Anthony’s willingness to do whatever was asked of him.

“Carmelo had a tremendous approach during his time with the Rockets and accepted every role head coach Mike D’Antoni gave him,” Morey said in a statement. “The fit we envisioned when Carmelo chose to sign with the Rockets has not materialized; therefore we thought it was best to move on as any other outcome would have been unfair to him.”

Despite the circumstances, Anthony has not given up on his goal of returning to the NBA, however, the likelihood of a return remains to be seen.

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