Melo is back where he belongs

Melo is back where he belongs
November 21
00:30 2019

It’s hard to imagine having one of the game’s most prolific scorers being out of the game for over a year, but that is exactly what happened to Carmelo Anthony. Fortunately, someone had the right mind to sign the aging superstar and that team was the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers signed Melo to a non-guaranteed contract. This is the opportunity he and others have been seeking. At 35 years of age, this may be the last chance for Anthony to prove himself as a viable asset in today’s NBA.  

Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has wanted Anthony for quite some time. Olshey tried to trade for Anthony while he was with the New York Knicks and attempted to sign him as a free agent once Anthony left Oklahoma City. Now that the Blazers have a glaring need in the front court, this may be the perfect fit for Carmelo.

“You need us,” sources said Olshey told Anthony.  “And we need you.”

It is unclear what Anthony has left in the tank, despite what everyone sees in those workout videos Anthony has released on social media over the past year. Portland made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season, but has gotten off to a slow start this year. Their 4-8 record prior to signing Anthony, combined with the injuries and lack of production from the power forward position, forced the Blazers to make adjustments.

When Olshey told Anthony they needed him, he wasn’t kidding. Zack Collins, the starting power forward, is out until March. Center Jusuf Nurkic is also rehabbing a fractured leg, so star guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum need a complementary player to take some of the scoring load off them, especially late in games. This may be the best place for Anthony considering the high number of isolation plays the Blazers run, exactly at which Carmelo excels.

In a stacked Western Conference, the Blazers don’t have the luxury of falling too far behind in the standings. Anthony is far removed from his All-Star days with the Denver Nuggets and Knicks, but I don’t think anyone expects that from him any longer. If he can provide a credible threat to score on a regular basis, the Blazers could be very formidable.

I still wonder if Anthony has the mindset to accept a complementary role on a team. I believe he now realizes what he is as a player and will conform to whatever player the team needs him to be.  

Sources briefed on the call suggested that Olshey’s message was this: Anthony needed a home where he could have a definitive role for a winning organization and needed the best players to respect and embrace him. And the Blazers needed someone with stature to walk in the door and shake up the locker room, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski.

I am inclined to believe that Carmelo can thrive if he is put in the right situation. I think Carmelo will show people that he still has more to give and I look forward to seeing the adjustments he has made in his game. All great players evolve their game as the league changes, so I am sure Anthony will do the same.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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