The NBA season is finally rounding into something that makes sense: the Rockets and Celtics are no longer bad, the Clippers and Grizzlies are no longer elite, and the Warriors keep calmly counting down the days until their challenger never comes.
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About five years after pursuing him in NBA free agency, Chicago have landed Carmelo Anthony but, just like then, he won’t suit up for the Bulls.
Chicago sent the draft rights of Serbian forward Tadija Dragicevic to the Houston Rockets for Anthony, the draft rights to guard Jon Diebler and cash considerations.
Anthony isn’t expected to play for the Bulls.
According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, citing league sources, the Bulls will waive the 10-time All-Star, allowing him to become a free agent if he clears waivers.
After the team struggled to a 6-7 start in the 2018-19 season, Anthony and the Rockets agreed to go their separate ways in mid-November.
He signed a one-year, $2.4 million deal during the off-season but played in only 10 games for the Rockets, eight of them coming off the bench, and averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
“Carmelo had a tremendous approach during his time with the Rockets and accepted every role head coach Mike D’Antoni gave him,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said in November.
“The fit we envisioned when Carmelo chose to sign with the Rockets has not materialised, therefore we thought it was best to move on as any other outcome would have been unfair to him.”
D’Antoni noted that it wasn’t an attitude problem that led to Anthony’s eventual departure.
“In the summer we tried to hit a home run and it didn’t work out,” D’Antoni said.
“He tried everything he could. He was great while he was here. It just didn’t work out for whatever reason.
“I just thank him for his professionalism… He tried everything he could to make it work and it just didn’t work out.”
In his NBA career that began with the Denver Nuggets after he was the third overall pick in the 2003 draft, the 34-year-old Anthony has averaged 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 16 seasons.
He was also a member of the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder.