Carmelo Anthony, who last played an NBA game in November 2018, has agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi. Anthony last played for the Houston Rockets, where he averaged 13.4 points over 10 games before eventually parting ways with the team.
One of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, the 35-year-old Anthony has averaged 24 points per game over his career and is best known for his years with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. The 6-foot-8 forward will join a Trail Blazers team which has struggled out of the gate in the 2019-20 season with a 4-8 record. This after earning the No. 3 seed last season in the Western Conference and making it to the conference finals behind the prolific backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Anthony will enter a frontcourt that is severely lacking at the power forward position, particularly after a significant injury to Zach Collins. Here are four things to know about Carmelo’s return to the NBA.
1. Anthony’s deal is non-guaranteed
Because Anthony’s deal is non-guaranteed, it presents limited risk for the Blazers, who are clearly not happy with the way they’ve started the season. We saw the Lakers sign Dwight Howard to a similar deal before the season, and that has worked out well for both parties thus far. We’ll see if the marriage is as happy between Anthony and Portland, but if not, they can part ways with little economic impact on the Blazers.
2. He will join Blazers on Saturday
Anthony will join his new Portland teammates on Saturday for their upcoming six-game road trip, which includes games against the Spurs, Rockets and Bucks. At this point, we don’t know exactly when Anthony will get his first game action after more than a year away from the NBA, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com is reporting that his debut will not come before Tuesday night’s matchup with the Pelicans. Anthony said in August that he was “ ” working on his game. If his conditioning level is up to par, he could vie for minutes right away.
3. Blazers, Lillard have shown interest in Carmelo before
This isn’t the first time that Portland has been interested in Anthony’s services. The Blazers attempted to acquire Anthony multiple times in the past, including when he played for the New York Knicks, according to Wojnarowski. In September, Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said that he had twice recruited Anthony to join the team, after which he surmised that Carmelo “.”
4. Blazers desperately need frontcourt production
After the injury to Collins, Portland has received little production from its forwards. The Blazers rank 27th in points per game, and it’s not that surprising considering the players who are getting the most minutes: Anthony Tolliver and Mario Hezonja. Depending on how Anthony plays, the path to a starting power forward position is there, but he’ll more likely be used as a bench scorer who can potentially lead the second unit while Lillard and McCollum rest.