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Carmelo Anthony tried to join Team USA, but Jerry Colangelo said he'd be a 'distraction'

Carmelo Anthony wanted to join Team USA, but Jerry Colangelo wasn't interested. (Photo by Clint Spaulding/Getty Images for Related)

After playing just 10 games in the 2018-2019 NBA season, free agent Carmelo Anthony is trying to revive his career. But the 35-year-old won’t be doing it with Team USA.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo told Sports Illustrated that Anthony, through a representative, requested to play for Team USA in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. But Colangelo definitely wasn’t interested.

“I love Carmelo,” Colangelo told Sports Illustrated. “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 re-establish himself. I think that has to be done in the [NBA].”

It’s not really clear how Anthony could be a “distraction,” as Colangelo claims he might be. And as far as where Team USA is and what they are doing, they’re currently at the end of a news cycle that saw pretty much every ultra-talented, big-name NBA player quit the team. Even Zion Williamson, who hasn’t played a single NBA game yet, didn’t want to play for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup. And yet the one guy who actually wanted to be part of the team was rejected because he might be a “distraction,” and not on the basis of his ability to play or even advise younger players.

Anthony is an accomplished international player. He played for Team USA in four different Olympics: 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016, and won a medal every time. He and Team USA won three straight gold medals in 2008, 2012, and 2016 after earning a bronze in 2004.

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