Carmelo Anthony Waived by Bulls Amid Lakers Interest

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2019

Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, in New York. The Rockets won 119-111. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls announced they formally waived small forward Carmelo Anthony on Friday after previously acquiring him in a trade with the Houston Rockets.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first reported the roster move, adding, "This was part of plan of allowing him to become a free agent."

"The Lakers remain a possibility to sign Anthony, but that wouldn’t happen until the Lakers use their current roster to exhaust trade deadline efforts to acquire New Orleans star Anthony Davis," said Wojnarowski. "The Lakers would need to create an open roster spot to sign Anthony, who is a favorite of LeBron James."

Although Chicago, which also received cash considerations in the deal with Houston, had no plans of using Anthony, it wanted to explore potential options to flip the 10-time All-Star selection before the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline, per Wojnarowski.

With no trade available, the Bulls have placed him on waivers. He'll become an unrestricted free agent if not claimed within the next 48 hours. 

Anthony has now endured unsuccessful stints with the Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder over the past two seasons after seven productive years with the New York Knicks.

The 34-year-old New York City native, who's averaged 24 points during his career, put up 16.2 points per game across 78 appearances for OKC last season. He signed with Houston as a free agent in August, but averaged just 13.4 points in 10 games before getting dropped from the rotation.

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Anthony came off the bench for the first time in his career while with the Rockets, but finding a way to produce consistently in the new role was a struggle. After more than a decade as the top scoring option for the Knicks and Denver Nuggets, he's yet to find a niche as a secondary offensive weapon.

"But it's still a challenge for me as well," he told reporters in November. "A challenge to play differently than I've played in the past, to go from having the ball to relying on other guys to get you the ball, picking your spots, being ready. Sometimes you don't get the ball 4-5 times down the court, and when you do, you got to be ready to shoot it."

Assuming he hits the open market again, he'll attempt to find a better fit for his shoot-first skill set.

Whether he lands in L.A. or elsewhere, the days of Anthony serving as a team's main scoring threat are likely over and whether he can successfully transition into a lesser role remains a mystery.