Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t worried about a potential starting role for his new star signing, Carmelo Anthony, even less of whether he starts or comes off the bench.
While most fans have been curious to see whether Melo would finally cede into a bench role after an NBA active record of 1,054 straight starts, the long-tenured coach noted it’s all about putting him in positions to succeed and finding ways to keep him happy.
“If I can put him in his right position and he flourishes and the team wins, we’re not going to have any problems,” said D’Antoni, according to Mark Berman of The New York Post. “My goal as a coach is to make him have the most fun and the best year that he can have and if I do that, whether he starts or whether he doesn’t, doesn’t really matter. He needs to be happy and I need to find ways to make him happy.”
So far, there are two things that are proven to make Anthony happy — getting his full bag’s worth of salary and being a starter, as he’s known nothing else during his entire NBA career.
The major factor is that he will be allowed to challenge for either starting forward spot during training camp, and Houston, despite its ballooning payroll, have no one to remotely come close to stripping that chance away from him — as P.J. Tucker, Ryan Anderson, James Ennis, or Gerald Green don’t come anywhere close to his offensive skill set.
Knowing that and still getting to come off the bench could represent one of two things — another feud between Melo and the 67-year-old coach, or the start of a new era for the 34-year-old perennial scorer.