Carmelo Anthony refused to come off the bench last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and doesn't appear willing to do it this year—unless it's his choice.
Anthony said Wednesday, per Jemele Hill of The Undefeated:
"I know how to play this game of basketball. I've been playing it for a long time. When I feel like I'm ready to take that role, then I'll take that role. Only I know when it's best for me to take that role. I'm not going to do that in a situation where I still know my capabilities and what I can do. And at the end of the day, the people who really matter know my capabilities and what I can still do. You start getting to the media and debates, it's going to always be kind of back-and-forth."
The 10-time All-Star has started all 1,054 games he has played in the NBA, and he never considered being a sixth man for the Thunder after an offseason trade from the New York Knicks:
His mindset didn't change after the season despite his career-low 16.2 points per game and 40.4 field-goal percentage.
"I'm not sacrificing no bench role," he said in April, per Royce Young of ESPN.com. "So that's out of the question."
The choice might no longer be his as he moves on to the next chapter of his career.
OKC traded Anthony to the Atlanta Hawks, but he appears set to join the Houston Rockets after an expected buyout, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Although it's clear he sees his value in the starting lineup, a contending team such as Houston might find him better suited for the second unit.