Carmelo Anthony wanted to play for U.S. at World Cup, team passed
Carmelo Anthony still hopes to resurrect his NBA career by latching on with a team for the 2019-20 season, but the veteran apparently wanted to sign on with another squad first.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Anthony reached out to Team USA brass in a bid to join the roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup. The team politely passed.
“I love Carmelo,” Team USA director Jerry Colangelo said. “He made a great contribution. He was a very good international player. But for where we are and what we’re doing, that conceivably could have been a distraction. I understand why the request was made. He’s trying to reestablish himself. I think that has to be done in the [NBA].”
Anthony has been a dominant force in international basketball for Team USA. He’s the only player to be part of four medal-winning squads as well as the only player to boast three gold medals. Anthony is also Team USA’s all-time leading Olympic scorer and has played the most games for the U.S. in international play history.
Given the dearth of top stars on Team USA’s roster with the likes of Anthony Davis, James Harden and Damian Lillard, among others, opting out of the World Cup, the case can be made Anthony would have been a welcome addition.
That said, it’s difficult to gauge exactly where Anthony’s game is at the moment after he sat out most of last season. Further, Anthony’s productivity is not what it used to be in previous seasons, either.
Between those potential concerns and Colangelo’s assertion Anthony would have been a distraction, Team USA’s decision to pass on the NBA star probably was a wise move.