Carmelo Anthony is back in the NBA. After sitting out the first month of the season, the 35-year-old veteran with the Portland Trail Blazers last week. This is the first time he'll be back on a roster since last February when he was waived by the Chicago Bulls, who had acquired him from the Rockets in a salary dump.
But it's really been over a year since he was part of a team in a meaningful sense. He parted ways with the Rockets after just 10 games during the 2018-19 campaign, in which both he and the team struggled. No one picked him up at the end of last season, and he was unable to find a contract during the summer. As this season moved along, it seemed like Anthony's time in the league was over.
However, he found a perfect match with the Trail Blazers and now has another chance. to resurrect his career Anthony joined the team on their current road trip, which fittingly included a game against the Rockets in Houston on Monday night. He didn't play in that game, but could make his debut on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Ahead of his potential debut, Anthony released a video on his YouTube page detailing his decision to join the Blazers, explaining why he believes the fit will work.
Here's a closer look at some of his thoughts.
How did the Blazers deal come together?
According to Anthony, it all came together within "48 hours." The team contacted him last Wednesday, and after sleeping on it, he made the decision to sign the deal on Thursday.
Perhaps the most interesting note here is that Anthony revealed the Blazers wanted him to join the team immediately, but he asked for a few days to clear his head and get in the right mindset.
Anthony's explanation of why he didn't join the team immediately:
"'Let me just get three or four days of just, get back into it.' Mentally and emotionally I had detached myself from the game a little bit, just to give myself some sanity and not think about it. Once I got that call, the challenge was for me to flip that back mentally. There's a big difference in training while you're waiting, and training once you get the call and saying, 'OK, we wanna do this.'"
Why did he want to join the Trail Blazers?
Anthony said that he has a strong relationship with both of the Trail Blazers' stars, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, which meant he had always kept an open mind towards Portland. There's also been plenty of rumors about a potential partnership between Anthony and Portland in the past, with McCollum even of Anthony in a Blazers uniform on his Instagram page.
In addition, this was a perfect marriage for both the Blazers and Anthony. Portland has, are thin in the frontcourt and need an extra scoring boost to help their middling offense. As for Anthony, he's been unable to find a contract, so this not only gets him back in the league but puts him in a spot where he could help a team get back into the playoffs.
I always kept my eyes on Portland. It just didn't work out at other times, but now it seems like a perfect opportunity. Me and Dame, we've been talking for the past couple years, just off and on, CJ has been playing in my Black Ops runs for the past four years. I just look at that opportunity, that team and say, look 'this is what I can bring to the team, this is where I can help.' It will only work if all parties see it the same way.
How will he approach his role?
Anthony is far from the player he once was, and that's obvious to everyone who watched him with the Oklahoma City Thunder and briefly last season with the Rockets. But throughout that time it didn't seem obvious to Anthony.
Ahead of his start with the Blazers, perhaps the most important question is whether or not Anthony will accept his new status in the league. He's not even close to being a star anymore, but if he buys in and accepts a lesser role, he still has enough talent that he might be able to help -- especially on the offensive end.
So far, at least, Anthony is saying all the right things:
"I just look at that opportunity, that team and say, look 'this is what I can bring to the team, this is where I can help.' It will only work if all parties see it the same way.What happened before is the past, I can't dwell on that, I learn from that. This happened at a point in time in my life where I do have a lot of clarity and understanding of different situations and just life, and my approach is totally different."
This is good to hear from Anthony, in particular, the last part about having a "totally different" approach. But of course we'll have to wait until he actually gets on the court to see whether or not he's bought in, and from there, if he's still good enough to help the Blazers.