10 Worst free agent signings in Rockets history

Anthony Duckett
Chicago Bulls v Houston Rockets
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6. Carmelo Anthony

In 2018-19, the Houston Rockets looked to add Carmelo Anthony into Mike D'Antoni's offense, which didn’t end well. Granted, the 10-time NBA All-Star was on the minimum, so what could go wrong? Also, Anthony was best friends and Banana Boat buddies with Chris Paul, who had just come off of a successful season with the franchise. 

Well, Anthony wanted a larger role in Houston, so it ended up being a failed experiment. Melo wasn’t exactly a fit for the Rockets’ style of play, as he wasn't known for taking efficient shots up to that point. In fact, Anthony had a knack for taking the mid-range shot, which was frowned upon within the Rockets’ offense.

The Rockets got rid of Anthony after a small subset of games (10 games, to be exact), leaving his NBA career hanging in the balance, at that juncture. Anthony made sure to tell any and everyone how he felt he was done wrong by the organization, starting with ESPN's First Take, where he explained that he was caught off guard by the Rockets essentially giving him his walking papers.

Anthony went further with J.J. Redick on The Old Man and the Three, to explain why the Rockets experience wasn't exactly a pleasant one.

“When I get to Houston, now I really feel like an outcast. I am the piece that the team needs. But that wasn’t their thinking. They wanted me to be a spot-up corner shooter.

It didn’t work at all. I used to tell them ‘throw me a bone. I need that feel. I need that touch. I’m a rhythm player.’ 

When I get there, I honestly didn’t feel like I was a part of Houston at all. I was already starting to doubt myself. I went to Mike [D’Antoni] and said tell me my role on this team. What do you need? He said I need you to be you.”

Carmelo stated that his greatest element of surprise came from being asked to be a reserve.

“It never was communicated to me that I was coming off the bench,” he said. “I don’t want to make it seem like I was against it. I just wanted that upfront because I never came off the bench ever in my life. Do you know the pride and ego blow that had on me?”

Carmelo played 29.2 minutes per game in Houston, which isn’t exactly reserve minutes, but he had his sights set on a larger role, which is understandable, as he had been a superstar to that point in his career.

Anthony averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds with the Rockets, while shooting 32.4 percent from downtown, which is well below the league average, and poor by his own standards.

'Melo said that he was starting to get ingratiated into his role within the offense when he received notice that he was being let go.

“I was just getting comfortable in accepting my role. I’m coming off the bench. Let me try to make this fun. Let me get the crowd into it. Let me wave the towel for the first couple of minutes.”

The Rockets later traded Anthony to the Chicago Bulls, which was made easy by the fact that he was on the minimum. Carmelo would be higher on the list if he had been on a bigger contract, as a veteran's minimum deal is a low-risk, high-reward move, but his place on the list is because of how much backlash and scrutiny the franchise received for deciding to part ways with the future Hall of Famer.