Goodbye Carmelo Anthony: The anti OKC Thunder player

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -NOVEMBER 15: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the OKC Thunder reacts during the game against the Chicago Bulls on November 15, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -NOVEMBER 15: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the OKC Thunder reacts during the game against the Chicago Bulls on November 15, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

With Carmelo Anthony gone, the OKC Thunder are in a much better place moving forward.

You can breathe Thunder fans, it’s finally over.

Nearly two weeks after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young reported the Thunder and Carmelo Anthony would part ways, Sam Presti was finally able to trade his disgruntled former star.

The Thunder did receive a nice return in flashy point guard Dennis Schroder, as well as former first round pick Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot. But that’s just the icing on the cake.

The most important part of this deal is the Carmelo Anthony is no longer a member of the OKC Thunder.

Carmelo Anthony didn’t share the Thunder’s values.

This organization prides itself on a lot of things: hard work, sacrifice, selflessness. Carmelo Anthony was the opposite of every single thing just mentioned.

Melo’s season came full circle. His me-first attitude was present on day one when he made it very clear he had no intentions of coming off the bench. It ended the exact same way, when Anthony claimed he was done sacrificing and that if anything, he had sacrificed too much.

To be fair, Melo did sacrifice…sort of. He had career lows in minutes (32.1) and field goal attempts (15.0) per game. His 23.2 usage rate was also the lowest mark of his NBA tenure.

As the playoffs rolled around however, it became more than obvious Carmelo Anthony wasn’t sacrificing enough.

In games 2-6 of OKC’s first-round loss against Utah, Melo was a team worst -43. This peaked in game five when the Thunder roared back from a 25-point deficit to win. Melo was on the bench for most of the comeback. A good teammate would have understood the situation and been happy to support his team from the bench. Not Melo, who argued with Thunder assistant Mo Cheeks about getting back in the game.

In a must-win game, Melo put himself ahead of the team. That’s all you need to know right there.

Brief Recap of the Original Carmelo Anthony Trade

I wrote about three weeks ago evaluating whether the Carmelo Trade was the worst move in Sam Presti’s history. Basically, I still think it’s the Harden trade but this move deserves consideration. Now that we know it at least netted a quality guard in Schroeder, the transaction has been slightly salvaged.

Again, I think the best part of the Melo trade was that first month before the season started realizing Carmelo Anthony, one of the most popular players in the 21st century, was willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to Oklahoma City of all place. Thinking about Melo, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George all dominating together was an incredible fantasy.

The reality was far different.

Even with a stronger supporting cast and more positive work environment, Melo proved he hasn’t really changed much since he entered the league. He failed to understand that coming off the bench and accepting a lesser role was a strength. Fans and media members would have seen this as a sign of a dedication to winning, something Melo hadn’t shown in nearly half a decade. Melo’s perception was clearly thrown off, thinking coming off the bench would make him look weak and pathetic. His ego got the best of him. This wasn’t the first time, and certainly won’t be the last.

Final Thoughts

This Shea Serrano tweet about Carmelo hits the nail on the head.

He’s right in a way. Melo is a cult hero, whose following only topped by a handful of stars. This was both a blessing and a curse for the ten-time all-star. Melo’s demise is straight out of a kids book where the arrogant antagonist’s hubris is ultimately his or her downfall.

More from Thunderous Intentions

I feel bad for the fan base of whatever team Melo goes to next. Get ready for fan message boards filled with “He just needs to be Olympic Melo” or, “He’ll fit much better under our system.” Barring some massive epiphany, he’s going to be the same old Melo. And if Houston thinks Anthony is going to be an upgrade over Trevor Ariza, much like Melo himself, they’re being downright delusional.

All this isn’t to say Anthony was never a great player. But it’s only natural to forget how good he once was after seeing him become literally unplayable in the playoffs. The last time Melo was the best player on a playoff team, Hamidou Diallo was in eighth grade.

I can’t remember a time in Thunder history fan’s will and should be more excited to see a player leave. Reggie Jackson was a jerk, but was a more than serviceable player. Kendrick Perkins was the exact opposite by the time he left. When Kyle Singler eventually leaves OKC (stay tuned for my piece honoring the worst contract in franchise history), that will surely be reason to celebrate. Still, that doesn’t invoke the same addition by subtraction getting rid of Melo does.

So goodbye Carmelo Anthony, have fun jab-stepping your way out of the league and into whatever it is you want to do next.