For years, the Rockets pursued Carmelo Anthony, hoping he would become an important part of a championship roster. The tried to woo him when he was in Denver and fought to no avail to trade for him prior to last season. This summer, with the Thunder waiving the 10-time All-Star, it was inevitable he would wind up in Houston...finally. But, on Thursday, after only ten games played in Houston, the Rockets announced they would be parting ways with Anthony, though no details on how or when that would happen were immediately available.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey did release this statement:
After much internal discussion, the Rockets will be parting ways with Carmelo Anthony and we are working toward a resolution. Carmelo had a tremendous approach during his time with the Rockets and accepted every role head coach Mike D’Antoni gave him. The fit we envisioned when Carmelo chose to sign with the Rockets has not materialized, therefore we thought it was best to move on as any other outcome would have been unfair to him.
It's astounding an addition that had been years in the making could go south this quickly, but the team struggled out of the gate going 1-5 before winning five of their next seven games. In 2015, when the Rockets started the season a disappointing 4-7, they fired Coach Kevin McHale. While Anthony certainly should not shoulder the lion's share of the blame — there is more than enough of that to go around — someone had to take the ax for the rough start.
Despite all the talk of great chemistry in the off-season, whatever was going on off the floor simply did not translate to on it. Since a terrible performance in Anthony's last game against the Thunder, the Rockets have won two of three including two against quality opponents in Indiana and Denver. For the team, this may simply be addition by subtraction.
In his place, the Rockets have already promoted un-drafted rookie Gary Clark, who has played well, particularly defensively, for a couple weeks. But, there is no doubt Morey will be looking for other opportunities to improve the team as it tries to turn its fortunes around. It was widely reported they were in pursuit of Jimmy Butler, but he was traded to Philadelphia over the weekend.
Whatever moves they make going forward, they can say the guy they tried so desperately to sign for so many years was a Rocket...if only for 10 games.
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