When Carmelo Anthony was let go by the Rockets, the world waited. All the clues were leading up to a partnership with LeBron James and the Lakers, where the 10x All-Star could have found purpose and a suitable NBA home.
That wait would last forever as, almost a year following his initial exile from Houston, he remains an unsigned free agent.
With many folks wondering why the scenario never came to pass, ESPN's Baxter Holmes went deep into the downfall of the one prominent NBA star.
The Rockets hope that parting ways with Anthony quickly might allow him to join another team. Morey delivers the news to Anthony in San Antonio the day before the Rockets are to play the Spurs -- though publicly, the team would say only that Anthony was out for the next three games because of an "illness."
In the days and weeks to come, rumors surface of Anthony potentially joining other franchises, and one source close to Anthony says he believes Melo will be joining the Lakers midseason. Multiple sources close to the situation note that the Miami Heat had also been interested in acquiring Anthony before he'd chosen Houston, but in the end, no option materializes.
In those 10 games, perhaps the worst of his career, his vulnerabilities were basically put on display, no doubt playing a hand in the silence that would come.
"I feel awful that it ended the way it did," says another Rockets source. "He would have been better off either going to Miami or just not playing. But those 10 games ... basically ruined him."
In the article, Holmes notes how the origins of Anthony's downfall can be traced back as early as six years ago. After being the league's highest scorer as a power forward in the Knicks' miraculous run in 2013, James Dolan and those high in the Knicks front-office demanded Anthony return to his small-forward position, abandoning what had worked so well a year before.
The Knicks and Anthony have yet to make the playoffs since. And now, the league's 3-point revolution makes it impossible for Anthony to adjust and adapt on the spot. In turn, the Lakers, and others, now want nothing to do with him.
Sad truth is, as he prepares to watch the 2019-20 season from his couch, at 35-years-old, it may just be too late. Time has simply passed him by.