To this point, reports that Nets players have been pushing management to sign Carmelo Anthony hadn’t been proved. There’s been a lot of speculation and none of the reports have been disputed by any of the involved parties – including Anthony.
However, this week, new acquisition Taurean Prince provided some confirmation.
Prince, referring to an Anthony summer workout video, came to Anthony’s defense on Twitter, insisting that the 35-year old future Hall of Famer still can play.
Guarded him for a month straight. Same Melo only thing diff is the narrative ppl throw on his name ♂️ https://t.co/nrM8mtRrgJ— Forever Humble (@taureanprince) September 10, 2019
The tweet also confirmed that the workouts have been intense and went on for a month straight. Now, though, the Nets players are all headed back to Brooklyn, the decision —or non-decision— rests with Sean Marks, who has taken a look at Melo recently, according to The Athletic’s Frank Isola.
With Kevin Durant expected to miss at least a large chunk of next season, if not all of it: Wilson Chandler’s suspension; and the uncertainty surrounding Rodions Kurucs’ availability, the Nets have a crater-sized hole to fill at the power forward position.
With a certain logic, many fans and pundits throughout the NBA have wondered if Brooklyn native Anthony, arguably the best forward still available— maybe the best player, could be a fit with the Nets.
Speculation connecting Anthony to Brooklyn went rampant a month ago when SNY’s Anthony Puccio and Ian Begley reported that Melo was working out in Los Angeles with several current Nets, including Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert. And now we know at one more player, Prince, was in the mix. A number of the Nets were working out in L.A. at varous times this summer.
Following SNY’s report, a league source poured some cold water on the Melo to Brooklyn speculation, telling NetsDaily it was simply, “friends working out with friends.”
After all, at that point, the Nets already had a full roster of 15 players signed.
However, since then, circumstances have changed. Chandler has been suspended and Kurucs has been charged with three-degree assault and other misdemeanor charges. The Nets might need Anthony as much and he needs them.
Isola also reported Irving, along with Kevin Durant, is pushing the organization to sign Anthony. Durant, Irving, Melo and DeAndre Jordan were teammates on the gold medal winning Team USA from the 2016 Olympics. The Athletic’s David Aldridge added to the craze, believing that Chandler and Kurucs’ situations have made an Anthony signing more likely than it has ever been.
Aldridge went into just how deep the relationship between Durant and Anthony is, noting they both played high school ball in the Baltimore-Washington area, and given the familiarity, Durant often went to Anthony for advice as a younger player in the NBA.
In 2016, Durant said, “(Carmelo’s) my guy. I’ve looked up to Carmelo since I was 15 years old. I wanted to be Carmelo. And once I got the opportunity to hang around him and get to know him a little deeper, coming into the Draft, I asked him for advice here and there, and it just made things, it made the relationship even smoother.
“Coming from the same area—not close—he could tell that I wanted to reach out to him, and he wanted to reach out to me. Once we did it, it was just organic and smooth, and he’s been a real friend ever since.”
TMZ even caught up with Anthony on the streets of New York to ask him about the report ofnumerous Nets going to bat for him to be signed by the team. Anthony responded that Durant, Irving, and Jordan, his 2016 Olympic Gold Medal teammates, are like “family” and that “it’s bigger than basketball” between them. In other words, Melo has succeeded brilliantly at not anything while seeming to.
Indeed, as Pooch reported, Melo seems to be in great shape and looking good in workouts, but perhaps most importantly, players seem to want him around. Just this week, former Knick Derrick Rose, in a new book, suggested Carmelo Anthony had trouble with playing The Triangle under Phil Jackson.
“The triangle is okay, but not for the personnel we had. Melo couldn’t play that way, didn’t want to,” said Rose who also noted that Melo plays his way.
How soon might we know? Training camp is now 16 days and you’d assume everything has to be done by then. So, as we did in the first MeloDrama, we wait.
Meanwhile, it appears that the other veteran on the market, former Net Joe Johnson, is headed elsewhere.
Johnson reportedly worked out for the Pistons on Tuesday.
- Nets players’ push for Carmelo Anthony grows with Joe Johnson unlikely - Brian Lewis - New York Post