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Carmelo Anthony on his exit from the Rockets: 'I didn’t like how that went down'

Carmelo Anthony isn't happy about how things ended between him and the Houston Rockets. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It’s been nearly nine months since Carmelo Anthony last stepped on the basketball court. In that time, all we’ve been able to do is wonder about what went wrong between Anthony and the Houston Rockets. Anthony played just 10 games for the Rockets during the 2018-2019 season, his last on November 8, before the Rockets essentially exiled him to being out indefinitely. He hasn’t played in another NBA game since.

Anthony went on “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith on Friday, and spoke out for the first time since all that went down in November. He told Smith about what led up to the parting of the ways, and how Rockets GM Daryl Morey told him about it.

According to Anthony, it came out of nowhere. He didn’t miss any practices, he did his work, and acted professionally toward everyone. After the Rockets loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 8, Anthony traveled with the team to San Antonio for their next game, and Morey told him during the trip that he was essentially fired.

“I was actually in San Antonio, in my room getting ready for the game. Me and Daryl [Morey] were supposed to speak that night, because I had reached out to him previously about... what’s going on, let me know what I can do, I’m here to help the team, let me know what I gotta do. But he came in and said, ‘Look, your services are no longer needed,’ and I’m like, ‘What the hell are you talking about?' He’s like, ‘Nah, things are just not working out and you gotta figure out what you gotta figure out, something to do.’ I’m like, ‘How am I gonna figure out something to do? I got a game tomorrow.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, you’re not gonna suit up tomorrow.’

“So then I started taking it even deeper, he was talking about how I wasn’t gonna make the rotation. I’m like, ‘You’re trying to tell me I can’t make a nine-man rotation, that’s what you’re trying to tell me?’ I’ve already started to accept the fact that I gotta come off the bench, which is very hard for me — I accepted that and I’ve moved on from that. Now you’re telling me that I can’t make a nine-, 10-man rotation on this team. It’s deeper than basketball.”

As Melo said, “I didn’t like how that went down.” Morey never gave him any definitive reasons for it, and Anthony described going through an intense period of doubt after Morey essentially fired him. And despite Anthony’s history with Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, he doesn’t think D’Antoni had anything to do with it.

Anthony also says that neither Chris Paul or James Harden knew about Morey’s decision.

Who knows if we’ll hear a response from Morey about Anthony’s version of events in Houston. But one thing is clear: Anthony fiercely misses playing in the NBA.

Anthony also told Smith that he’s been at the gym every day, but despite missing the NBA, he doesn’t want a “farewell tour.” He just wants to play, and he believes he still can. A team just has to give him a chance.

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