When Carmelo Anthony accepted a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder three weeks before the 2017-18 season, the thought was that the star addition would create the NBA's next big three, one powerful enough to compete with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers of the world. That didn't happen.
A clunky offensive hierarchy and defensive issues led to a first-round playoff defeat and also spelled the end of Melo's brief tenure in OKC as the franchise waived him in July. Now in a reserve role with the Houston Rockets, many of those same question marks have followed the future Hall of Famer to his new home.
So what made Anthony a poor fit in OKC, and how has he adjusted to coming off the bench so far in Houston?
As the Rockets visit Oklahoma City on Thursday night for Anthony's Thunder reunion, ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon and Royce Young tackle the biggest questions surrounding the highest-profile minimum-salary player in the NBA.
Can 'Olympic Melo' make a comeback in Houston?
MacMahon: At Rockets media day, Anthony kept mentioning how much more comfortable he'd be with the Rockets than he was with the Thunder last season. He had time to prepare for his arrival in Houston as opposed to landing in Oklahoma City "at the 25th hour."
"Last year, I didn't know what to expect coming into the situation," Anthony said. "It's different when you're clear on what is needed to be done or what you have to do or what's needed of you. It's a big difference."
But Anthony was vague when pressed for specifics about how his role would be different and was elusive about the possibility of coming off the bench, claiming that they hadn't had that conversation yet, which was a classic semantics play. As we try to figure out how Melo fits in Houston, I guess we should start with this question: Why didn't it work in OKC?
Young: There's a lot to unpack when it comes to Melo's adjustment with the Thunder, but the simple answer is this: He didn't shoot the ball well. The "why" is the question, whether that was comfort, teammates, role, system or something else.