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Jerry Colangelo says Carmelo Anthony ‘conceivably could have been a distraction’ for Team USA

Carmelo Anthony, Jerry Colangelo

USA Basketball declined a potential reunion with all-time leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, despite the recent wave of players turning down invites to participate in the looming 2019 FIBA World Cup. USAB managing director Jerry Colangelo explained why he turned down Melo in the wake of a potential partnership in which both sides could have drawn benefits:

“I love Carmelo,” said Colangelo, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “He made a great contribution. He was a very good international player. But for where we are and what we’re doing, that conceivably could have been a distraction. I understand why the request was made. He’s trying to reestablish himself. I think that has to be done in the [NBA].”

Anthony retired from international basketball soon after he became the first American to win three Olympic gold medals in basketball after a surging win over Serbia in the gold-medal game in Rio in 2016.

While that would have been the best way to cap off an illustrious international career, 2016 Melo wouldn’t have foreseen the dire situation he would find himself in today: out of an NBA job and hoping to claw his way back into the league after drawing very little interest from front offices.

Team USA would have been the perfect platform to showcase his skills at the highest possible level, giving him an avenue to land an NBA roster spot, but Colangelo has taken a decisive turn to build a young roster for the future and wanted to nip any sort of distractions from affecting an already tough task of aiming for gold with no prior chemistry between players.