LAS VEGAS – Three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony expressed interest in playing for USA Basketball during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo told SI.com, but was told the team was moving forward with a new group.
In an interview on Wednesday, Colangelo expressed deep respect and appreciation for Anthony’s contributions to USA Basketball. The 2016 USA Basketball Co-Male Athlete of the Year, Anthony is arguably the greatest player in USA Basketball history. Anthony won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics, following it up by helping the U.S. to three consecutive gold’s in ’08, ’12 and ’16.
According to Colangelo, Anthony requested a chance to play through a representative. Colangelo, though, believed it was time to move on.
“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, 35, is a free agent after playing just ten games with the Rockets last season. He was effectively dismissed from the team in mid-November and traded to Chicago last January. The Bulls waived Anthony on February 1st.
Anthony has averaged 24 points in 16 NBA seasons.