Carmelo Anthony Says Jared Dudley 'Wasn't Keeping a Roster Spot from Me'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2019

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Houston Rockets shoots the ball against Jared Dudley #6 of the Brooklyn Nets during the game at Barclays Center on November 02, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

Newly signed Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony shot down a narrative regarding Los Angeles Lakers bench player Jared Dudley on Friday.

In an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Melo suggested that many unfairly criticized Dudley for having an NBA job while he went unsigned for an entire year:

"Me and Jared Dudley had some issues in the past, man, but I started feeling bad for him a little bit. I mean, not feeling bad, but it's just like, 'Leave that man alone.' It's not his fault. Teams that wanted him, they wanted a specific role, and that's why they picked him up. I had to tell some guys to lay off. He wasn't keeping a roster spot from me. That wasn't the case. The [treatment] he received wasn't right."

After spending last season with the Brooklyn Nets, Dudley signed with the Lakers during the offseason. Melo went unsigned, but he finally found a new home when he joined the Blazers on Tuesday.

Anthony, 35, is a 10-time All-Star and one-time NBA scoring champion who owns career averages of 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in 17 NBA seasons with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Blazers.

The 34-year-old Dudley has enjoyed a long NBA career in his own right with stints as a member of the Charlotte Bobcats, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards, Nets and Lakers over the course of 13 seasons, but he is far more of a journeyman.

Whereas Anthony is a likely Hall of Famer, Dudley owns career averages of just 7.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He is a strong defender, though, and his career three-point shooting percentage of 39.4 percent makes him a useful player in today's NBA.

He is also used to playing a bench role, as 571 of his 856 career regular-season appearances have come off the bench. Meanwhile, Melo has come off the bench just eight times in 1,066 career games.

A team like the Lakers needed a bench role player like Dudley to lend support to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and there is no guarantee Anthony would have thrived in that role, as he struggled in eight appearances off the bench for Houston last season before being deactivated and eventually traded.

So far this season, Melo is averaging 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in two games (both starts) for Portland. Meanwhile, Dudley has averaged 7.2 minutes per game in nine contests and is also averaging just 1.3 points.

Melo told Haynes that he had some on-court issues with Dudley previously but insisted they were in the past: "Man, it was just some game s--t in [competition]. S--t that happened on the court. Nothing serious. We don't have any problems."

Dudley and Anthony have crossed paths many times over the years, and given Dudley's aggressive and agitating style of play, it isn't surprising that he and Melo had some run-ins.

Now that Dudley and Anthony are both gainfully employed with NBA teams, the possibility exists for them to face off again, and the first opportunity for that to happen will be Dec. 6 when the Blazers host the Lakers.

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