Carmelo Anthony is desperate to return to basketball. His appearance on "First Take" confirmed that, as the 10-time All-Star made it known that he would accept practically any role on any team. Ideally, that team would be in the NBA, but according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, he was willing to make a slight detour before doing so. He reportedly requested a chance to play for Team USA in the upcoming FIBA World Cup of Basketball, hoping to use the tournament as a launching pad back into the NBA, but director Jerry Colangelo declined that request.
"I love Carmelo," 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 holds several international records. He is the only four-time medalist in men's basketball, and the only three-time gold medalist. He leads Team USA in games played and is their all-time leading Olympic scorer, among other honors, and for years, fans hoped to see the version of Anthony that starred overseas make the transition to the NBA. 'Olympic 'Melo' was much more of a spot-up shooter than an isolation scorer, but by the time he adopted that style stateside, the rest of his game had declined enough to render it largely ineffective.
That is likely the major reason why Team USA declined his request to join the team. It would have been a fun story to see him suit up internationally one last time, and if he does not get another chance in the NBA, it would have at least given a legendary player a swan song on the stage he succeeded the most in, but given the talent deficit Team USA is operating under, the cons simply outweighed the pros.
Every player on the 2016 Olympic roster was either an All-Star months earlier or was playing on a max contract. That is not the case this time around, as the only three 2019 All-Stars in place are Khris Middleton, Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker. The 2016 roster had enough talent to support Anthony, but this 2019 roster is going to have to fight much harder to earn the gold. Supporting Anthony on defense was feasible in the past, but given his reduced offensive capacities, doing so now would be less beneficial.
And so, Anthony's search for a team continues. Without Team USA to boost his profile, he can rely on nothing but press appearances and unexpected circumstances to get the attention of NBA franchises. It doesn't seem like his wait is ending any time soon.