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Why isn’t Carmelo Anthony on an NBA roster right now?

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Chauncey Billups has a theory. We have another.

NCAA Basketball: Champions Classic-Kentucky vs Michigan State Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The last few years have been rough for Carmelo Anthony’s NBA career. After averaging 22.4 points per game for the Knicks during a 2016-17 campaign where Phil Jackson and co. actively antagonized him, he scored a career-worst 16.2 points per game for the Thunder the following season, and then played just 10 games for the Rockets last year (averaging just 13.4 points) before being let go.

That’s a precipitous downfall, and a puzzling one, even taking the former Syracuse Orange star’s age (35) into account. Many (self included) assumed he’d be joining friend LeBron James with the Lakers this offseason, but that hasn’t really materialized yet. Former Carmelo teammate Chauncey Billups shared why Anthony isn’t on a roster right now (according to him):

“Now, the only thing I will say — and I’ve even told ‘Melo this — scoring 30 meant too much to ‘Melo. It meant too much because he could have games where he had 20, 22 (points), we win the game and he’s mad. He might have 36, and he’s in there, and you know — we lose the game, and he’s in there picking everybody up. Scoring 30 meant too much, but I think now you fast forward the tape, and the reason why he’s not in the league — because he’s still worthy — is he hasn’t mentally taken that step back to say ‘Okay, I’ll come in and play against backups. I’ll try to help the team out. I know I might not be able to close but I just want to help.’”

I can’t discount the personal accounts around how Carmelo acted about scoring 30 or not, but the idea that he can’t/won’t play against backups seems flawed. With Team USA, ‘Melo took on whatever role required of him. And despite getting the short end of the stick at the end of his time in New York, he played along just the same. In OKC, he played third fiddle to Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and tried to remake himself as more of an outside shooter to help. He never really got enough time to figure it out with the Rockets.

Can certainly admit I’m a ‘Melo defender. But at the same time (and I’ve discussed this here before), the league’s shifted out from under him. That, more than anything else, is why he’s struggled in the late stages of his career. He’s never necessarily been “efficient,” and his isolation game stopped fitting into the NBA’s new focus on pace and space several years ago. The mid-range can still work. But really, a player like Melo either needs to be able to drive inside like he used to (not necessarily feasible anymore) or hit threes (so far, unsuccessful).

That’s less mentality, and more physical limitations. Whether ‘Melo is done or not, he does deserve a better sendoff than what the future Hall-of-Famer got. Hopefully he receives it, even if it’s just a one-game appearance and a halftime ceremony.

More there, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:

Chauncey Billups had a brutally honest take on why Carmelo Anthony isn’t in the NBA (For The Win)

Former teammate Chauncey Billups, who played with Melo with the Nuggets and Knicks, explained on Wednesday why he thinks Melo is no longer in the NBA. While he praised him for being a great teammate, he added that Melo’s mindset on having to score 30 points a game and not being able to be a backup is why he’s no longer in the NBA:

Is Syracuse first school to open at home against defending champs in football and basketball? (Syracuse.com)

Thus, the search would begin with the 1939 football season and defending national champion Texas Christian University and the 1939-40 basketball season with reigning NCAA tournament champion Oregon. For historical reference, the 1938 TCU football team was led by that year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Davey O’Brien, whose name is now on the award given to college football’s top quarterback.

Ex-Syracuse basketball grad assistant Katie Kolinski lands 1st assistant coaching job (Syracuse.com)

“Trust me, I’m not (taking my eyes off the floor),” Kolinski said with a laugh, though she was willing to multi-task just long enough to share her excitement about her new job and her appreciation for her old one. Lafayette is the latest step for Kolinski in a career that has progressed quickly and already included a pair of groundbreaking moments.

SU student identified as defendant in nationally reported sexual assault case (Daily Orange)

Gianmarco Castronovo, a former rising sophomore broadcast and digital journalism student, is no longer enrolled at Syracuse University after being identified as the alleged perpetrator of a sexual assault in New Jersey.

State of the Hoops Program: Iowa picks up the pieces after an offseason roster shakeup (The Athletic)

College football bowl games that have ended in a tie (NCAA.com)

How FBS schools meet the 15,000 requirement for attendance, and why the rule still exists (The Athletic)

Ranking the best returning quarterbacks in college football (Stadium)