It took a year in exile for Carmelo Anthony to finally be awarded a spot back in the NBA. Now, if he is to have his way, the team that took a chance on him—the Portland Trail Blazers—will be the one with whom he retires.
“I would love to stay,” Anthony said on Tuesday, according to the Portland Tribune. “I feel like this is the place for me to end my career. It could have happened earlier, but it didn’t. Now, where I’m at in my life and my career — this is where I want to retire.”
Anthony, signed in mid-November before making his debut on November 19, has given Portland pretty much what it hoped he would give. He is averaging 16.1 points and 6.5 rebounds and while his shooting from the field has been so-so, at 43.5 percent, he has been very good from the 3-point line (38.2 percent).
The Blazers are struggling this season, at 20-27, currently 10th in the West, three games out of a playoff spot. Anthony has not changed their fortunes much in the standings—they’re 14-18 since he made his debut—but he has helped the team stem the tide amid a flood of injuries.
There’s still hope in Portland that the team can make a run at the playoffs, particularly if injured big man Jusuf Nurkic can make a return. Nurkic, who broke his leg last March, is hoping to be back on the floor next month.
Carmelo Anthony’s Rough Few Years
Anthony underwent a stressful few years in the NBA. He was traded by the Knicks in 2017, sent to Oklahoma City in a deal for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick.
He played one season in Oklahoma City, averaging 16.2 points. The Thunder were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs and, that summer, Anthony was dealt to Atlanta and waived by the Hawks. He then signed on with the Rockets, joining James Harden and his former coach with the Knicks, Mike D’Antoni.
But the Rockets waived him after he appeared in just 10 games, in which he averaged 13.4 points. Anthony, it appeared, was being made into a scapegoat for the Rockets’ slow start to that season.
Anthony was asked whether he was still bitter about that.
“No,” he said. “Not anymore. I did at one time. I was confused. I was angry. I was bitter. I kept asking, ‘Why? What was it? What did I do?’ And I didn’t get an answer.
“It took me a while to get over that, because when you can’t get an answer to something you’re looking for, you start getting frustrated. It finally came to the point where I had to let it go. That’s what made me detach from the game.”
Anthony Has Made $252 Million in the NBA
Anthony will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He could re-sign with the Blazers though Portland would likely only be willing to do so on a veteran’s minimum. He’d likely accept that. Having earned $252 million over the course of his career, Anthony isn’t looking for money at this point.
He’s looking for happiness. He’s found it in Portland.
“I’m happy,” he said. “I like the group a lot. When I came in, it was like a welcome-home party. I come in and it’s, ‘Thank you for coming’ from everybody.
“The coaches have been phenomenal with me. We talk almost every day about things I could do to help out with the team and with the young players — things I need to be doing. I’ve been on board with everyone and everything from Day One.”