Report: Failed Knicks plan to reel in elite free agents included Carmelo Anthony

Had the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/new-york/" data-ylk="slk:Knicks">Knicks</a> been better at free agency, a reunion with Carmelo Anthony might have been in store. (Getty)
Had the Knicks been better at free agency, a reunion with Carmelo Anthony might have been in store. (Getty)

The NBA free-agency frenzy is long over, but some familiar names remain searching for work.

Among them is Carmelo Anthony, who joins high-profile veterans Vince Carter and Jeremy Lin in the free-agency pool.

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Much has been made of Anthony’s unceremonious fall from NBA prominence that saw him ultimately ousted from a brief stint with the Houston Rockets last season and unable to find work for the remainder of the season.

Report: Knicks targeted Melo before free-agency failure

Anthony reportedly still wants to play in the NBA. And according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the New York Knicks’ failure to secure any top-tier free agents this summer may have cost him a prime chance to return to the league.

Charania reports that had the Knicks succeeded in securing top talent like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they “planned to consider bringing back Anthony on a contract.”

SNY’s Ian Begly also reported earlier this summer of the potential interest in a reunion that ultimately failed.

Alas, the crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets nabbed the Knicks’ top targets, leaving James Dolan’s outfit to settle on Julius Randle and Taj Gibson.

The Knicks do not have a contending lineup that could benefit from a veteran scorer off the bench, so apparently there is now no interest in a reunion to relive the glory days of Anthony’s career that saw him make six consecutive All-Star teams with New York.

Lakers also reportedly discussed Anthony

Charania also reports that the Lakers considered signing Anthony, but with a crowded depth chart on the wing that includes LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, there isn’t a good fit — despite Anthony’s long-term friendship with James.

Team USA too

The report also states that Anthony’s camp had discussions with Team USA about playing in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, a spot that could have been mutually beneficial with several top stars declining to suit up for the event.

Those talks too failed to come to fruition, and Anthony will reportedly not receive an invitation.

Carmelo Anthony reportedly won't reprise his role with Team USA. (Getty)
Carmelo Anthony reportedly won't reprise his role with Team USA. (Getty)

Will Anthony accept a secondary role?

Charania reports that several players and executives believe that Anthony could still have a role in the NBA, with one anonymous executive stating, “Melo could fill a spot on most second units.”

And that seems to remain the crux of Anthony’s failure to find a job.

Charania cites multiple NBA sources characterizing Anthony as a good teammate, even during his tumultuous time in Houston.

But history has shown that Anthony is not interested in a secondary role in the NBA.

Anthony scoffed at the suggestion of coming off the bench in his only season in Oklahoma City, which acquired him in a trade from the Knicks prior to the 2017-18 season.

Anthony’s former teammate Chauncey Billups recently reiterated that Anthony was a good teammate, but that “scoring 30 meant too much to him.”

The consensus is clear. Anthony is a good teammate that players respect and enjoy having around. But he spent his career dominating the basketball as the focal scoring point of his teams.

If he’s not willing to accept a reduced role, there isn’t a place for him in the NBA.

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