The Rockets made headlines for all the wrong reasons this weekend when it was reported by numerous outlets that Carmelo Anthony’s time with the Rockets was coming to an end.
The report came at a very vulnerable time for the Rockets as the reports came out while the Rockets were playing the Spurs and had no chance to immediately respond. Then, players had to respond to the madness in the locker room following an embarrassing loss to the Spurs in which the Rockets could not make a shot to save their lives.
Melo missed the game with an illness he had been battling in Oklahoma City, on a night where he missed 11 shots from the field and scored just two points in the Rockets’ worst outing of the year.
In a series of ominous tweets from Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, NBA Twitter broke, criticizing Melo and the Rockets for their poor play so far.
While Carmelo Anthony is absent with an illness tonight against the Spurs, the Rockets and Anthony are discussing his role and how they might still be able to proceed together for the rest of the season, league sources tell ESPN. Talks are fluid.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 11, 2018
Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: The Houston Rockets and Carmelo Anthony are seriously weighing his roster situation. Sides ruled him out tonight in San Antonio due to "illness" — after he practiced fully with team Friday, league sources said.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 11, 2018
Woj and Shams are the best at breaking NBA news. When either of them speak, people listen, and as they should. These guys get it right 99.9 percent of the time. But this case is a valuable lesson in learning to not believe every source that is out there.
In this situation, there is a better source. There is always someone closer to the situation. And in this case, Daryl Morey, general manager, knows more about what is going on with the Rockets and Melo than what any of the national media says.
National media outlets see the Rockets as a team that dominated the NBA regular season last year. The team lost their seventh game on Christmas Day last season. This season, their seventh loss came on November 10. People are quick to point at the things different about this team compared to last year’s, and this offseason’s biggest acquisition came in the form of Melo.
People look at Melo, future Hall of Famer and 10-time All-Star, as a “problem” because he has requested trades from places in the past and he’s someone who is used to being one of the team’s most important players. This year, he’s important to the Rockets but he is far from what James Harden and Chris Paul are to this team. However, Melo has conducted himself as a professional and has kept any potential disappointments about his role to himself.
However, when so many people report the same thing, there has to be some truth to it.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Melo could be unhappy. He expected to come to a contender, and the Rockets have been far from that in this opening portion of the season. He’s not playing as often as he has before, playing just a little more than 29 minutes per game. His scoring average reads just 13.4 points per game, but that includes his two-point performance against OKC, a clear outlier.
He’s also been shifting around in the rotation sharing minutes with undrafted rookie Gary Clark. The rookie from Cincinnati has had his role grow throughout the season and will likely have his two-way contract converted to a full contract as he has continued to impress in his early tenure with the Rockets so far.
So, to recap...
The national media is scapegoating Melo as the root of Houston’s problems, which is not true.
The local media and the Rockets are denying and shooting down most of the rumors surrounding Melo.
But what is Melo saying? The only person who knows what’s going on with Melo is Melo himself. While Melo is away with his illness (which is an actual thing that wasn’t made up to mask his disappointments), there is so much in the air.
However, all of the truths being told are not the whole truth. The only person who knows the full truth to the story is the one person who has remained silent on this whole story altogether, and that is Carmelo Anthony.