Carmelo Anthony 'Had to Get Over' Trades, Buyouts Being 'The New Norm' in NBA

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2018

FILE - This is an April 25, 2018, file photo showing Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, in Oklahoma Cit. Carmelo Anthony has played his last game for the Oklahoma City Thunder, barring a massive change of plans. A person with knowledge of the negotiations said Friday, July 6, 2018, that Anthony and the Thunder have mutually decided that he will not be on the team next season, though it remains unclear how that departure will actually happen. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no buyout, trade or waiving has been executed. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony is coming to grips with the fact that getting bought out is now a common practice in the NBA.

After getting dealt from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks in a trade that sent guard Dennis Schroder to OKC, Melo is expected to receive a buyout from the Hawks.

Anthony said the following Wednesday, according to ESPN.com's Jemele Hill: "To get bought out, to get waived, you were looked at like, you're done. Now, it's just almost like the norm. If something doesn't work, go ahead and get a buyout or go ahead and get traded. That's the new norm in our society in basketball. I had to get over that."

Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, Melo is expected to sign with the Houston Rockets in free agency.

The 34-year-old Anthony struggled mightily with the Thunder last season, averaging a career-low 16.2 points per game while shooting just 40.4 percent from the field (by far the worst mark of his career).

Anthony was traded from the New York Knicks to the Thunder late in the offseason, and Melo suggested Wednesday the quick turnaround negatively impacted his time in OKC:

"At the end of the day, it wasn't a good fit. I think last year—and I haven't talked about this before—everything was just so rushed, going to the team for media day and the day before training camp. Them guys already had something in place, and then I come along in the 25th hour like, 'Oh s--t, Melo just come on and join us. Like, you can figure it out since you've been around the game for a long time.'

"That's why it was so inconsistent. At times, I had to figure it out on my own rather than somebody over there or people over there helping me."

Anthony never jelled with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, which led to Oklahoma City's decision to move on despite Melo exercising his player option for 2018-19.

Although Anthony is on the downside of his career, he can still be an offensive weapon in the right situation. Provided the Rockets sign Anthony as expected, he will join a team that led the NBA in wins last season with 65.

There also won't be much pressure on Melo to be "the guy" in Houston since reigning MVP James Harden and veteran point guard Chris Paul are in the fold.

Even though buyouts can come with negative connotations, the fact that Anthony is set to get bought out will likely give him the best opportunity of his career to vie for a championship.