Heading into last season, after being traded to the Hawks and being waived, Carmelo Anthony took a bench role with the Houston Rockets, seemingly ready to help James Harden and Chris Paul ascend to new heights in the Western Conference after pushing the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the 2018 conference finals.
It lasted 10 games.
Houston opened the season 4-6, and though Anthony had scored 20-plus four times, by November 15, GM Daryl Morey issued a statement that Anthony and the team would be 'parting ways'. Traded to the Bulls on January 22, Anthony was waived February 1 without making an appearance.
The 10-time NBA All-Star remains unsigned this offseason. Friday morning, Anthony sat down for an hour-long interview with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on First Take, and revealed he 'felt fired' after making a concerted effort to fit into that reduced role with the Rockets.
"To sit there across from a GM of the team and to hear him tell you, 'Your services are no longer needed' -- that was an ego hit, that was a pride hit. I started questioning myself after that: Can I still do this? What did I do? I asked him that: 'What did I do?' He said, 'You didn't do anything. It's just not working out.'
"That's what made me feel like that, somebody in power that tells you 'We no longer need your services.' ... I've been utilizing my services for a long time. For you to tell me you don't need that no more, I honestly felt like I got fired."
Anthony went on to cover a broad number of topics, among them his decision to re-sign for a longer period with the Nuggets than Dwyane Wade and LeBron James did with the Heat and Cavaliers when the group became extension eligible in 2006. That led to Chris Bosh ultimately joining the 'Heatles' for their 2010-14 Finals runs.
Acknowledging the friends had discussed the idea of aligning their respective free agencies, Anthony said he was more interested in securing guaranteed years and money at the time, especially considering the competitiveness and comfort of his situation in Denver.
View more from the interview on YouTube.