Carmelo Anthony should still be on a professional basketball team. We can all agree on that, right? We can all agree it’s kind of crazy that it’s come to this with Melo, right? Right? If teams can keep talking themselves into Dwight Howard in 2019, teams should be able to keep talking themselves into Melo.
But it’s August 30, and Melo still isn’t on a professional basketball team in the United States of America. It’s strange. Not because I think contenders should be chomping at the bit to sign a ninth or tenth guy for your team, but if Vince Carter can keep getting them checks in Atlanta, and be a net-negative every time he steps on the floor, Melo should have a job somewhere. In a miniscule way, it reminds me of Colin Kaepernick in the NFL. Most admit he’s not a starter on just about any team anymore, but he should still be the backup QB on a handful of teams. Matt Simms should not be employed while Kaepernick is not, but this is America, man. Most admit Melo isn’t a starter or important rotation piece anymore, but if David Nwaba can keep getting signed so should Melo. Something just feels off about Nobody Will Sign Carmelo Anthony stuff. It feels like teams, and the league, really, have quietly decided to move on from a future Hall-of-Famer for still very unclear reasons.
But that’s what makes the Brooklyn Nets’ players, notably Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, pushing their new team to sign Melo so interesting. It’s not like Sean Marks, Brooklyn’s GM, is dying to add Melo into his locker room. Players, especially stars, love Melo. LeBron James would probably love to have Melo on his team in LA. Chris Paul would love to have Melo in OKC. I’m sure Steph Curry would love to have Melo off the bench in Golden State. (If you believe he’d rather have Jonas Jerebko in that spot, I have a timeshare I’d like to talk with you about.) It’s the front offices that aren’t all that interested in the services of Carmelo Anthony anymore.
The Nets make sense for Anthony, though. With Durant gone for the season, nothing matters in Brooklyn this year. If they are a top-four seed -- great! If they are a bottom-four seed -- also great! They get a mulligan year because Durant is out and everything is about the 2020-21 season in Brooklyn. Signing Melo won’t mess with shit. This is a team with no title hopes, should kill at the ticket gate, and have already added two of the most mercurial superstars in the league. The incubator is already compromised, Melo won’t affect a thing. So if you’re Marks, who cares? You already gave DeAndre Jordan a ridiculous contract to appease your new stars -- why not add another guy who we aren’t totally sure is playable guy in the playoffs anymore?
It should be the Knicks, though. The Knicks had the summer from hell. They should just sign Melo. They should just give him his send-off at MSG. If you think any Knick fan would rather watch Taj Gibson get those 12 minutes at the 4 this season on a team that’s not making the playoffs anyway you are sorely mistaken. If you’re going to be bad, at least be the fun kind of bad. I want to see how bad Dennis Smith Jr. and RJ Barrett and Melo on the floor at the same time looks for New York on League Pass on a Tuesday night in Boston. Melo was guy that wanted you, Knicks’ brass. He wanted to be traded to you and even re-signed with you. He was the star that stayed. Let him be Vince Carter in New York for a season.
Now, let’s get into the rest of my mailbag where I answer questions from nobody because I don’t have that kind of clout on the internet. Yet!
“Does Jerry Jones have to be such a dick when it comes to Ezekiel Elliott?”
The answer is of course not. However, do I ever tire of the Cowboys’ owner saying shit out loud that should never be said out loud? Of course not. Jones really just doesn’t give a shit. He paid Jaylon Smith when he didn’t have to before he paid Zeke! Jerry Jones does whatever Jerry Jones wants and Jerry Jones says whatever is on Jerry Jones’ mind. I’m not saying I’m out here rooting for a billionaire in 2019 or anything, I’m not, but I think if you have a sense of humor at all you can look at the Jones vs. Zeke feud as a hilariously petty situation that probably should have been resolved a long time ago? Then again, if I were an NFL owner, I would never pay a running back after his rookie contract, so I get where Dallas is coming from. It’s tough; Zeke has evolved and does everything you want in a modern back, but he’s still a back and he still makes dumb mistakes when he’s not on the football field. Jones has all the leverage in the world and knows with this top-5 offensive line and potentially a top-5 defense they’ll be fine with or without Elliot and he’s probably right. He doesn’t have to be a dick, though, right? Yes he does because he’s Jerry Jones. Those are the rules
“Why are the Dolphins starting Ryan Fitzpatrick over Josh Rosen?”
Not a great week for first-year head coach Brian Flores. If you Google “Brian Flores” the word “Jay-Z” pops up right after. No matter what you think about his motives of blasting one of the globe’s newest billionaires over and over again with Kenny Stills on his team, you can look at his decision to start Fitzmagic in Week 1 as an absolute joke. Why trade for Josh Rosen? You know what you have in Fitzpatrick because he’s been the same quarterback for 20-plus years now. He will win some crazy games, throw the pigskin all over the place and then defecate all over himself to the point where you have to make a change at QB. it’s a beautiful and vicious cycle that doesn’t need to be repeated if you can avoid it. With Rosen you could have put it off, as you don’t know what you have here. He played behind one of the worst offensive lines in my lifetime in Arizona last season, and the Dolphins gave up a second and fifth-round pick for him in April. It’s borderline malfeasance to not play the UCLA kid immediately. You are going to be bad anyway and you need to see as an organization if this kid is worth passing on Tua Tagovailoa for in 2020. Like I said, not a great week for Flores.
“Are we sure Randy Orton shouldn’t win the WWE title at Clash of Champions?”
No, we are not, Chase’s subconscious. I’ve really enjoyed the Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton feud. It was an obvious move for the company, and the company made the obvious, correct, decision in playing it out. Perhaps this is my own natural, cyclical nature, but I’m surprised Kofi has kept the WWE title for as long as he. We know about Vince McMahon’s track record in this department -- he even brought Hulk Hogan back in case you had forgotten -- so I was dubious as to how long this reign could realistically last in Vince’s world. It’s a new day, and he’s still champ. However, it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t lost a lot of steam. Kofi Mania is a thing of the past. Kofi’s reign now kind of reminds me of what Christian’s reign would have been had he not immediately lost the World Heavyweight title Orton years ago; cool in the short-term, boring in the long-term. I think Orton is the guy to take it off of him; I think you take it off Kofi to get to Kevin Owens. KO is the hottest act on Smackdown Live and you can’t have him take it off Kofi. Owens and Orton would be fun, you could give Orton Shane’s backing, and you could make it the feud of the fall. I’m just not sure what else you can do with Kofi.
“Chase, are you a crazy person for thinking the Warriors finish with a better record than the Lakers next year?”
Absolutely not. Are you kidding me? Am I taking crazy pills? Why is everyone penciling in the Lakers as a lock to contend in the West next year? LeBron played in 55 games last season and AD played in, well, 56. Sure, the latter was an uncomfortable, rare situation but he has played 82 games exactly zero times. And yes, he played 75 in back-to-back seasons before that, but those seven games could determine whether or not the Lakers are a No. 3 seed in the West or a No. 7 seed. The depth isn’t there and if you are counting on Rajon Rondo, Howard, JaVale McGee, Jared Dudley and Avery Bradley to stay afloat and contend in the West you’re out of your mind. No, the Warriors still have Steph Curry, Draymond Green, who just signed an extension, Klay Thompson in February, and D’Angelo Russell as a fun wildcard. This team somehow managed to keep Kevon Looney, sign Willie Cauley-Stein, get something for Durant, and re-sign a top-10 guy when he had millions of reasons not to. I’ll bet on the Warriors’ infrastructure; I’ll bet on the only unanimous MVP and the rest of that original trio to win a lot of games in a new arena next season. If LeBron misses 10-plus and Davis misses 10-plus are we sure the Lakers can afford it? In the West? In this economy? Give me the Dubs.
Chase Thomas is an independent sportswriter based out of Atlanta, GA. He has been published in VICE Sports, SI, ESPN, SB Nation and more. You can email him at email@example.com.