They always seemed like a tenuous match, and the Houston Rockets may be starting to contemplate life without Carmelo Anthony.
The Houston Rockets have been arguably the NBA’s most disappointing team so far this season, with a 4-6 record heading into Saturday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. Carmelo Anthony is sitting out the game due to an illness, after going just 1-for-11 from the floor in a 98-80 loss to the Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder and it sounds like his time with the team could be coming to an end.
Anthony is struggling, and is now missing a game with an illness The Rockets need to find a mix that works and fast. So perhaps not coincidentally, how Anthony fits in is becoming a question.
After setting career-lows virtually across the board with the Thunder last year, Anthony has taken another step down. To his credit he seems to have embraced primarily coming off the bench, starting just two of the first 10 games, but he’s shooting 40.5 percent from the floor and an even more dismal 32.8 percent from three-point range. Past questions about his effort level defensively have also not gone away. The Rockets essentially traded Trevor Ariza for Anthony during the offseason, and the team’s defensive rating has fallen from top-10 last year to bottom-10 so far this year.
Anthony’s checkered history with head coach Mike D’Antoni, from their time together with the New York Knicks, brought questions about how well he’d fit with the Rockets. His ball-dominant scoring acumen would seem to make him perfect for an offense-first sixth man role, but Anthony is shooting less and worse than he ever has in his career.
If Anthony isn’t scoring, he isn’t contributing anything meaningful on the floor. Bad games like Thursday night happen, but there’s now 88 regular season games of evidence to support that he is a shell of what he was.
The sporadic bits of good, like three 20-plus point games over a four-game span as October wound down and November started, are offset and then some by the bad (3-20 from beyond the arc over his last three games).
Anthony and the Rockets might not be divorcing immediately, but it would seem the Rockets are having serious regrets about this relationship and are considering all their options to get out of it.