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Sheridan: Where Will Carmelo Anthony Play Next? Sixers the Favorite

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony may be finished with the Houston Rockets, but he is far from finished as an NBA player.

So where will he land next? Sources are telling Get More Sports that the Philadelphia 76ers are interested in using him as a plug-in at power forward now that they have a gaping hole at that position.

Anthony cannot be traded until Dec. 15, so the most likely move for the Rockets is placing him on waivers. The Sixers could put in a claim on him, and the starting five in Philly by the end of the week could be Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz/J.J. Redick, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler and ‘Melo. (Stephen A. Smith reported on ESPN today that the Fultz as starter experiment is over.)

MeloDrama infinity-point-oh was the story of the weekend in the NBA, with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey calling a rare pre-game news conference in Houston on Sunday to address the uncertainly surrounding Anthony’s future. Reports from various well-sourced NBA writers have stated that he has played his final game in Houston.

Why didn’t it work out? Perhaps it was ‘Melo’s deteriorating game, perhaps it was something more political.

Read what you want into this tweet:

“Real problem” is open to interpretation, but this much is clear: Other teams are scoring at a prodigious rate the way the Rockets used to, and Houston’s 5-7 record has them in 12th place in the Western Conference after they went to the Western Conference finals last season and came within one win (and two good Chris Paul hamstrings) of knocking off the Golden State Warriors.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony was brought in to replace some of the scoring production provided last season by Trevor Ariza, but things are clearly not working out the way Houston intended.

After a couple of early-season starts, Anthony fell on the depth chart. He was conspicuously absent in San Antonio on Friday night with “flu-like” symptoms, and a Woj tweet during the third quarter of that game jump-started the weekend of yet another MeloDrama.

The Sixers have a glaring need for a power forward after trading Dario Saric to Minnesota in the Butler deal. Mike Muscala is out with a facial laceration and will play with a mask when he eventually returns, and Wilson Chandler is an undersized option at the 4 once he is ready to play his first game of the season. After that, the depth chart at the 4 is blank.

So the question becomes: Would ‘Melo help the Sixers? Or hurt them?

Or perhaps a better question for Philadelphia: Why not go ahead and find out?

Anthony’s defensive deficiencies are well-documented, and one concern in Philadelphia is that his propensity to be a ball-stopper would take away from the team’s movement-based offense. But there is a nice last line of defense with Joel Embiid protecting the rim, and if Anthony could modify his game to become a catch-and-shoot option … it just might work.

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The 16-year veteran is shooting just 32.8 from behind the arc and .405 overall. Last season, he had a horrid postseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who traded him during the summer to Atlanta, which waived him. Anthony is playing on a veteran’s minimum contract in Houston.

Despite backlash on Twitter since news broke of the Sixers’ interest this morning, the odds of this happening are quite high.

An example of the reactions from one Sixers fan:

If not Philly, where else might Melo land?

A few speculative thoughts:

Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN NETS — This is a throwaway season in Brooklyn, but then again, a throwaway season that could include a future Hall of Famer helping make a playoff push is not exactly the worst idea in the history of ideas. Brooklyn is 6-7 and tied for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. They defeated Denver on the trip and knocked off the Sixers by 25 two Sundays ago. So under the “what the heck” theory, adding Melo makes sense. Doesn’t hurt that Anthony loves New York and would probably love to play for a metropolitan area team not owned by Jim Dolan.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS — Now eighth in the West and riding a three-game winning streak after poleaxing the mighty Atlanta Hawks by a single point on Sunday, the inevitable next roster change (Tyson Chandler was the first addition) will continue at some point. Michael Beasley was brought in as the emergency veteran backup and a roster spot would have to be created in order to make room for Anthony. Beasley will be back with the team tonight after an extended personal leave.

OTHERS: Who is desperate? That’s a good place to start. In the East, Miami is 5-7 and Washington is 3-9. Both have higher aspirations. In the West, Utah and New Orleans are both 6-6. The Jazz would likely seek other options, and ‘Melo in Salt Lake City makes no sense on too many levels to list. But the Pelicans are trying to demonstrate to Anthony Davis that they will do whatever it takes to be a contender, and Alvin Gentry is exactly the type of easy-going coach who could facilitate a smooth transition into the rotation for Anthony.

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Written by Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan is a veteran sports journalist who previously covered the NBA for ESPN. He worked for the Associated Press for 18 years, and also served as the 76ers beat writer for Sheridan is the host of Sports Betting Tips, a podcast covering all things gambling.

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