Why Carmelo Anthony may not interest C’s ‘at all’

The biggest reason why the Celtics might be out on Carmelo Anthony originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

On the surface, the move makes sense: The Boston Celtics lost an offensive-minded, veteran power forward to a potential season-long injury, so why not sign an offensive-minded, veteran power forward in free agency to fill the void?

We’ve even heard reports that the idea of Carmelo Anthony signing with the Celtics is “starting to gain traction” in the wake of Danilo Gallinari’s torn ACL diagnosis. But longtime Celtics beat reporter Mark Murphy poured a little cold water on the ‘Melo speculation during a special appearance on Chris Forsberg’s “Celtics Talk Podcast.”

Celtics Talk: No Carmelo interest for the Celtics? Mark Murphy looks ahead to upcoming season & back on his career | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

“I think they feel they want to find out what they’ve got. They’re not in a hurry,” Murphy said of the Celtics. “If there’s a trade out there, why not? But I don’t think they’re at all interested in Carmelo, for example.”

Murphy noted the Celtics also didn’t show interest in Montrezl Harrell, the 28-year-old power forward who reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers this week. But why the wariness to bring in a player like Anthony, who averaged 13.3 points per game off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers last season?

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“I think what it comes down to is, they don’t want to sacrifice their defensive principles,” Murphy said. “You have to be able to defend. I’m not sure what it would look like the first time ‘Melo had to switch onto a point guard.”

Murphy’s point is valid: The Celtics prided themselves on playing elite “team defense” last season, with every player being asked to guard multiple positions in switches. Anthony would be Boston’s weakest defender by a wide margin, and head coach Ime Udoka may not like the idea of offenses repeatedly exploiting the 38-year-old at that end of the floor while the team’s other defenders do their part.

Murphy also hinted at another reason why the C’s may not go after Anthony: They want to see what they have in-house with Sam Hauser and Summer League standout Mfiondu Kabengele.

Forsberg’s Mailbag: Sign ‘Melo, or give Hauser a shot?

“The one name that someone I talked to kept bringing up, which I thought was a little bizarre, was Kabengele,” Murphy said. “They feel like they found something with him. He did have a great G League season, and he does, going back with the Clippers, have a little bit of NBA experience. So, they’re going to find time for him.

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“Sam Hauser had shoulder issues, so we didn’t really see him a lot in Summer League. It’s a great chance for him, so why not plug him in?”

The Celtics may feel they’re confident enough in their current group to roll out this roster on Opening Night, then seek reinforcements ahead of the NBA trade deadline if they don’t like what they see. If that’s the case, then it’s hard to see Anthony in Celtics green.

Check out more from the Celtics Talk Podcast below as Murphy reflects on his 34-year tenure covering the C’s.

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