Carmelo Anthony ending up in Portland was a marriage of convenience. The Trail Blazers had been wrecked by injuries — specifically to Zach Collins with his dislocated shoulder — and desperately needed help at the four. Anthony, out of the NBA since early last season (the Rockets sent him home, then when they couldn’t trade ‘Melo waived him), didn’t have other options.
The marriage has thrived — so much so Anthony wants to stick around in Portland and retire.
That’s what he told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune.
“I would love to stay,” he said. “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 is averaging 16.1 points and 6.5 rebounds a night for the Trail Blazers, with a decent (but slightly below average) 52.3 true shooting percentage. He’s been solid and a fit. Portland has been +2.1 points per 100 possessions with Anthony on the court this season, which speaks to a combination of his play and the frontcourt weakness of the Blazers outside him.
Most importantly for Anthony, he has found a comfort zone.
“I’m happy,” he said during an interview after Tuesday’s practice session. “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.'”
Portland would like Anthony back, but can only offer 120 percent of his current veteran minimum salary. It’s unlikely there is a lot of demand for ‘Melo’s services around the league for much more than that, but Portland’s hands are tied if another team comes in over the top. Besides, Portland is already spending more than $74 million tied up in the combination of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic, so they are looking for helpful players on affordable contracts anyway.
Expect Anthony to be back with Portland next season as the future Hall of Famer looks to leave the NBA game on his own terms.