"Carmelo could make a huge impact on the team and help lift the spirits of our country."
The Houston Rockets have officially announced that they're parting ways with veteran forward Carmelo Anthony, following a brief stint in which Melo only appeared in 10 games. It remains to be seen what's next for the 10-time NBA All-Star, but he is already being courted by the Puerto Rican national basketball team.
Anthony would need USA Basketball to grant him a waiver to play for Puerto Rico, and he hasn't even flirted with the idea of doing so, but there's an open invitation if he wants it. Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea and federation president Yum Ramos have both expressed how much it would mean to the island if Melo represented them.
"With his connection to Puerto Rico, his NBA stardom and his experiences, our fans would love it," said J.J. Barea, per ESPN. "We tried a bunch to get him in the past, but of course nobody blamed him for playing for Team USA. But if he ever wants a chance to represent us, it would be awesome to have him."
"I'm a big fan of Carmelo not only as a basketball player, but more importantly as one of our Puerto Rican heroes,"federation president Yum Ramos told ESPN. "He and his foundation have done a lot for Puerto Rico. I think along with J.J. Barea, Carmelo could make a huge impact on the team and help lift the spirits of our country."
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Puerto Rico national basketball team has no practice court and little funding in the wake of Hurricane Maria's devastation. Anthony, Team USA's all-time Olympic scoring leader with 336 points, announced his retirement from international play in 2016.