Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard Sounds off on Carmelo Anthony’s NBA Return

Carmelo Anthony

Getty Images Carmelo Anthony

The return of Carmelo Anthony was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who cited that the Portland Trail Blazers were signing the 10-time NBA All-Star. Anthony signed with Portland on a non-guaranteed deal, according to the NBA.  The last time Melo took the court was early on last season with the Houston Rockets. The Rockets opted to make him inactive after just 10 games. After a brutal stretch involving a trade and eventual release, the 35-year-old has been looking for a team to sign with.

Anthony made his season debut against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 19 and scored 10 points. Since then, Melo has been putting up All-Star-caliber numbers, proving that he deserves to be in the NBA. On November 25 against the Chicago Bulls, he scored a game-high of 25 points along with two assists and one steal. He is currently averaging 17.7 points, six boards and 2.2 assists. Today, the league named him the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for the week ending on Dec. 1. For the week, Anthony averaged 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game.

Tomorrow night, Portland will play against the Los Angeles Clippers. Yesterday, after the Clippers defeated the Washington Wizards in a blowout game, 150-125, Kawhi Leonard revealed his thoughts on the 10-time NBA All-Star’s return.

Per Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints, Leonard said, “I’m happy for him. He’s able to get an opportunity… It’s well deserved. I don’t think he was treated the right way, how they kind of left him out there being a future Hall-of-Famer. He’s still got a lot of basketball left.”

The team’s other superstar Paul George also revealed his thoughts.

“It’s great… I just hate the narratives that are created by him being back. Melo’s been a great player, he’s gonna be a great player. He’s playing terrific from start to finish. Shoutout Portland for opening that door back up for Melo,” George said.

Clippers vs Trail Blazers

Clippers vs Portland

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers rebounds against Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Portland Trail Blazers

The last time the Clippers played against the Trail Blazers was on November 7 without Anthony or George. Anthony was still seeking an agreement and George was out due to recovery from surgeries in both of his shoulders. The Clippers barely edged over the Trail Blazers, 107-101. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum both led Portland in points with 22 points apiece. Lillard also tacked on six assists and six rebounds while McCollum tallied three assists and seven boards. Leonard led the Clippers with 27 points, four assists and 13 rebounds.

This was a big win for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers as this was his 900th win as an NBA coach, making him the 13th coach in NBA history to reach that feat. The Clippers earned their victory by playing stellar defense. The Trail Blazers only shot 37.5% from the field, barely scoring over 100-points. The Clippers were down going into the fourth, 76-70, but the Klaw came in hungry and helped them gain their first lead of the game. Portland didn’t give up and tied the game 98-98. Lou Williams clapped back with a jumper and a three, edging the Clippers over the Trail Blazers for good.

Tomorrow night will be an interesting watch as both teams now have new players to take the court. The Clippers currently post a 15-6 record while the Trail Blazers have an 8-12 record.