After a short stint in Houston, 10-time All Star Carmelo Anthony may hit the free agent market in the near future and the San Antonio Spurs have been mentioned as a potential landing spot.
As the Spurs stand atop the Southwest Division, the rival Houston Rockets are struggling to stay afloat. After allowing veteran wings Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute walk in free agency, Houston is adapting to a less experienced group with limited offensive firepower and a weaker defense.
Amidst the turmoil, the Houston Rockets are likely to part ways with forward Carmelo Anthony, who has underperformed to this point in the season. It seems from an outsider’s perspective that Melo is being scapegoated for the Rockets’ poor opening run which is largely in part to the slow start of Houston’s backcourt duo of Chris Paul and James Harden.
With the strong possibility that Melo will hit the free agent market once again, the idea has been floated that he could join the Spurs in a backup role.
— Spurs Splash (@SpursSplash) November 11, 2018
While many greeted the concept with open arms, others weren’t as fond of the idea.
Please delete your Twitter account. https://t.co/EvGgWUBMga
— Spurs Family (@SASpurs5) November 12, 2018
Melo is obviously going through the worst season of his career, shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from three while failing to help on the defensive end of the ball.
Anthony has essentially been cast aside by the rest of the league for his inefficiency and poor two-way effort. In spite of this, it’s wholly possible that the 34-year-old has something left to give. There’s a chance that all he’s missing is some innovative coaching and guidance.
Enter Gregg Popovich.
Over the course of his career, Anthony never played under a coach near the caliber of Popovich. After small forward Rudy Gay was cast aside by the league after suffering a torn achilles, Pop took a chance on him and taught him how to operate under the Spurs way. Now, Gay is shooting the ball better than ever and has returned to an important role on a competitive team.
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There is a world in which Carmelo Anthony is a viable option for the Spurs, but it’d be a calculated risk. With Quincy Pondexter filling time as a backup small forward, there are minutes to be spread around the thin frontcourt. It’s possible for Popovich to harness what good qualities Anthony has left and turn him into a helpful scorer off the bench.
Ties between Carmelo Anthony and the Team USA style of offense even further solidifies the concept that Popovich could utilize Anthony to the best of his abilities. As the most decorated olympic hooper of all time, Melo always showed flashes of his capabilities within a smart and concise offensive scheme.
The Spurs offense is based in many of the same fundamental principles of ball movement, floor spacing and unselfishness that shaped the United States as an international powerhouse for decades. Not to mention Popovich is already the head coach of Team USA, so he knows how to make the offense tick.
There’s only one scenario in which the pairing, as unlikely as it is, could work – Melo needs to come ready to hoop in a way he’s never done before. If his time in Houston serves as a wakeup call and he finds himself ready to relearn the game, then he would make a great Spur.
At the end of the day, it’s not a likely scenario as general manager R.C. Buford and Popovich seem to be focused on the freshly designed roster they built this summer.