The Portland Trail Blazers are skidding out of the gates to start the season, sitting at 5-9 after a lopsided loss to the Rockets on Monday. They need help in a number of areas, and they're hoping it's on the way in the form of Carmelo Anthony, who the team announced on Tuesday has officially signed his Blazers contract. Not only that, but he'll reportedly be starting against the Pelicans in his first game.
Anthony -- who will wear No. 00 with Portland, rather than the No. 7 he wore during his time with the Knicks, Thunder and Rockets -- is on a non-guaranteed contract that will pay him $14,490 every day he's on the roster until Jan. 7, at which point he will be guaranteed $2.15 million for the season, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
In other words, if the Blazers want to cut ties with Anthony at any point prior to Jan. 7, they can do so without owing him anything moving forward.
Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 for POR because No. 7 is being held in honor of Brandon Roy; No. 15 (his Denver/Syracuse #) is retired for Larry Steele & No. 22 (Oak Hill #) is retired for HOFer Clyde Drexler. Wish he'd gone with 25, to bring them all together. Stay Mel00— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) November 19, 2019
Anthony is expected to make his Portland debut Tuesday night in New Orleans, and the Blazers need him to hit the ground the running. It won't be easy. Anthony hasn't played in an NBA game since Nov. 8 of last year, and clearly rhythm and conditioning -- both of which are among -- will be an issue in the early going. As a result, Anthony is expected to only play about 20 minutes in his debut, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN.
like the idea of Anthony as a stretch four, where he can serve as a floor spacers with 3-point range and an occasional one-on-one player in Portland's iso-heavy system. Melo's defense, however, will be a major issue.
If Terry Stotts can't devise a system, through both positioning and strategic lineup deployments, to more or less hide Anthony on the defensive end, or at least make him passable when he is spotlighted, it'll be tough to keep him on the floor unless he's shooting the lights out.