At long last, Carmelo Anthony is back in the NBA, signing with the Blazers, who were desperate for help in the frontcourt. But he won’t quite be making the kind of money he has been used to in his career.
Anthony’s expected salary: $2.2 million, a veteran’s minimum deal. The contract won’t be guaranteed until January 7 and before that, Portland can waive Anthony at any time. Under NBA rules, because Anthony has more than 10 years of experience–this will be his 17th NBA season–the cap hit the Blazers will take for the deal is only $1.3 million.
Anthony has never made so little. When he was drafted by the Nuggets in 2003, as the No. 3 pick out of Syracuse, his rookie contract began at $3.2 million. He made $3.4 million in his second season, $3.7 million in his third season and $4.7 million in his fourth.
His post-rookie contract extension kicked in 2007-08, when Anthony made $13 million. He never made less than an eight-figure salary in any season thereafter.
In all, according to Basketball-Reference.com, Anthony has made $260 million in his career. Last year, which was technically split between the Rockets, Bulls and the Hawks, Anthony made a total of $28 million.
Anthony Had Fought to Restore Reputation
Anthony, who is 35, last played for Houston on November 8 of last season. The Rockets waived him after he appeared in only 10 games. The Blazers have protection against paying him should the experiment of adding him to the roster not pan out, because Anthony is not on a guaranteed contract. Portland has the right to waive him.
Still, this is a big win for Anthony. He and his representatives had been battling for the past year to get Anthony back into the league. They’d been making the case that Anthony had been used as a scapegoat for the failures of the Knicks, Thunder and Rockets, the last three teams he played for.
Anthony’s camp pushed the line that he got more blame than he deserves in each case. The Rockets eventually righted themselves without Anthony, but that did not happen until long after he was gone. After the 4-6 start, Houston went 7-8 in its next 15 games.
Anthony also got the blame when the Thunder won 48 games in 2017-18 and proceeded to get knocked out in the first round of the postseason. But last year’s OKC team did no better, winning 49 games and losing in the first round of the playoffs. The Thunder blew up the Paul George-Russell Westbrook core after that and that was hardly Anthony’s fault.
Anthony also took the blame when the Knicks went 31-51 in his final year in New York. But, his reps have been pointing out to teams the fact that New York has hardly bounced back since. They were 29-53 without Anthony the following season and won 17 games last year.
As one source told Heavy.com in September, “He has been the scapegoat for a few teams that didn’t play up to their potential. Obviously that is sticking with him. They’re showing teams he can play, but they’re also making the case that the negative reputation stuff is BS, that he is not a team-killer, that other people put blame on him the last few years that he didn’t deserve.”