An updated injury status revealed that new Boston Celtics signee Danilo Gallinari suffered an ACL tear in his left knee. The Celtics should be scouring the market for replacements, and future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony might just fit the bill for that spot.
According to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, the Celtics’ free agent interest was already present when Gallinari was thought to have only a torn meniscus:
Carmelo Anthony has been considered a potential signee by the Boston Celtics in recent days following Danilo Gallinari's suffered torn meniscus in his left knee on Saturday, I'm told.
Knicks are still believed to have interest in the former Laker, Thunder, Blazer, Rocket. pic.twitter.com/nGePtMj7YI
— 👑 Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson (@ScoopB) August 31, 2022
While this possible move might rub fans the wrong way due to the NBA veteran’s age and decline in play, in some ways it makes a lot of sense. Here are three reasons why Melo could be the answer to the Celtics’ newfound depth issues.
3. Melo has some gas left in the tank
Although Carmelo Anthony was a part of a disastrous season that saw the Los Angeles Lakers miss the playoffs, he cannot really be faulted for it. In fact, Melo played decently in the 2021-22 season, averaging an impressive 13.3 points off the bench over the course of 69 games.
For an NBA vet who is heading into Year 20, playing almost a full season and still putting up double-digit points on a nightly basis isn’t something to ignore. While he’s obviously not the star he once was, the Syracuse and Team USA legend can shoot and produce offensively.
Plus, Melo’s rebounding ability is still there, which makes him more than a one-dimensional player. His defensive capability is not great and his age hasn’t helped with that, yet there’s only so much you can expect from a 38-year-old player.
Overall, Anthony’s game hasn’t left him. He could score off the bench for the Celtics and take some of the offensive weight off the shoulders of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Bench scoring will be key for Boston this year, as it can help give its stars valuable rest and nullify future fatigue problems.
If the Celtics want to make a deep playoff run, they’ll need someone like Melo who can serve as a reliable scorer in Gallinari’s absence.
2. Melo is used to being a role player
Once upon a time, Carmelo Anthony was leading the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks to the playoffs with little help. He was an MVP-caliber player who demanded the ball and could score at will.
Melo isn’t that player anymore. However, that means he isn’t expecting to be. During his past stints in L.A. and Portland, Anthony learned to take whatever role he can get. Essentially, he has learned how to be a role player after many wondered if he could.
Not all former stars know how to transition from No. 1 option to a bench player, yet Melo has seemed to find his groove after some issues with that transition. For that reason, he could fit in on a Celtics squad that won’t need him to be the go-to guy.
While some may worry about him pilfering touches from Boston’s stars, Melo knows that to survive in the NBA in his current state, he has to step back. Ideally, his support role to Tatum and Brown should only help rather than take away from them.
1. Melo would fit in well with Celtics
The Celtics have leaders and veterans on their team, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use more. Marcus Smart is the vocal leader and Al Horford is the experienced vet, yet Carmelo Anthony has certainly been around the block as well.
He could settle into a veteran role that would work well in Boston. Furthermore, we’ve heard from Melo himself that he admires Tatum and that the Celtics star in turn idolizes him. So, while Melo might not immediately mix in with his last team’s rival, there are plenty of reasons why he’d get along with his potential teammates.
If the Celtics do decide to make a move for Melo, he won’t cost them a lot. He’s worth a further look for Boston, which will have its depth tested early on in the 2022-23 NBA season.