After 6.5 seasons with the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder to form a Big 3 with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Unfortunately, their 2017-18 NBA season came to an end earlier than they expected after losing to the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.
While Anthony averaged a career-low in points (16.2) during the regular season, it was a new role for him. However, in six games against the Jazz, the 33-year-old only averaged 11.8 points (37.5 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from the three-point line) and 5.7 rebounds in 32.3 minutes. When asked if he would possibly consider coming off the bench for the 2018-19 season and beyond, Anthony had the following to say according to Royce Young of ESPN:
Melo asked about possibly coming off the bench: "I'm not sacrificing no bench role. So that's out of the question."
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) April 28, 2018
In addition, Anthony discussed his role in Oklahoma City, according to Young:
Melo on role this season: “I think the player they wanted me to be and needed me to be was for the sake of this season. As far as being effective as that type of player, I don’t think I can be effective as that type of player.” Says he's capable of doing more.
— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) April 28, 2018
For a former 10-time All-Star like Anthony, it is difficult to accept that type of role after multiple seasons of being a team’s first option. Dwyane Wade, who was a part of Anthony’s 2003 NBA Draft class, eventually accepted a similar role with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat this season.
At 33 years old, Anthony has a player option worth $27.9 million for the 2018-19 season. As most believe he is declining and unwilling to accept a bench role, it will be interesting to see what ultimately happens this offseason as the Thunder are focused on re-signing Paul George.
Anthony averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in his 15th season.