Carmelo Anthony rejects idea of a bench role with OKC Thunder going forward: 'Out of the question'

Carmelo Anthony's first season in Oklahoma City with the Thunder represented his worst statistical season in his 15-year career. The 10-time All-Star was cast as the third option of OKC's version of the Big 3 alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George, but his production dipped significantly across the board.

Though Anthony showed flashes of being the elite offensive option he once was, his defensive weaknesses made him a liability in many regards, especially during the playoffs. It's been clear the Thunder have been more effective when Melo isn't on the court. 

Nonetheless, he still rejects the idea of coming off the bench next season. 

"I'm not sacrificing no bench role," Anthony said Saturday during his exit interview. "I think everybody knows I've sacrificed damn near everything, and was willing to sacrifice nearly everything for this situation to work out."

Anthony averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for the Thunder this season, which are respectable numbers on the surface. But a major cause for concern for Melo centers around his 40.4 percent accuracy from the floor, which is the worst since he joined the league in 2003. He also finished the 2018 postseason last on the Thunder in plus/minus with a -58.

It presents Anthony with an interesting decision this offseason, should OKC approach him about a bench role: Does he opt in for the final year of his contract and return to the Thunder in 2018? Or might he opt out and turn down $27,928,140 for the chance to start elsewhere?

It's one of many looming questions that will hover over Oklahoma City, not the least of which is Paul George's impending free agency, as the offseason begins for Melo and the Thunder. 

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