Anthony played 10 games for the Rockets last season before they waived him, with his fit and defensive issues leading to the decision by the Rockets.
After that, Anthony could not find a landing spot in the league until now.
Portland, with injuries having ravaged them in the frontcourt — Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Pau Gasol are all out injured, and they were not a deep team up front to begin with — became a logical fit for Anthony and his skill set. He can space the floor and get buckets at a position of need. However, he’s going to have to fit into the Blazers’ system — a lot of catch-and-shoot opportunities, not a lot of isolation chances — and play good enough defense to stay on the court.
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Carmelo Anthony has got his last chance, can he grab it like Dwight Howard has his? He got one last opportunity. It came in an unexpected place, but that didn’t matter because this was it — things work out here or his NBA career ends now. Be in shape, accept your role and know this is not your team, play hard nightly, defend with energy, don’t be a diva and demand touches how and where you want them, and don’t pout or be a distraction if things don’t go exactly how you want them to.
That was Dwight Howard’s situation entering this season — and he’s done all those things and given the Lakers the inside presence they need. Howard’s raw numbers are not eye-popping, 7.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per night, but he’s been the team’s best center (allowing Anthony Davis time at his preferred power forward slot). Howard has been a vital part of the Lakers 9-2 start.
The particulars are different from Howard, but the theme is the same.
This is it for Anthony, he “2,000 percent” wanted another shot in the NBA, to go out on his terms, well he’s got it on a team that could really use what he brings. However, it’s not his team (it’s Damian Lillard’s) and Anthony will need to accept a role, get buckets at the four in the system (far more catch-and-shoot than isolation), and defend well enough to stay on the court. Do that and he can help this team.
Portland’s 4-8 start made it the perfect team to take a chance on Anthony. This is a smart signing by Portland (a low-risk one because of the non-guaranteed contract).
The Blazers have an elite backcourt. Damian Lillard is playing like an MVP and averaging 30.5 points per game — he’s carrying the offense so far. CJ McCollum has struggled out of the gate, but Portland isn’t really worried about him getting back on track, this is just a little slump.
The frontcourt, however, has been a disaster, mostly due to injuries. Jusuf Nurkic — Portland third-best player last season and a guy critical to their success — is out until likely after the All-Star break from a fractured leg that required surgery. Portland hoped Zach Collins would step into Nurkic’s role, but Collins is out four months following shoulder surgery. Pau Gasol was signed this summer but he has yet to step on the court and is battling a foot issue. Hassan Whiteside came in via trade and the Blazers brass talked him up, but he has played like he always has — sporadic effort and empty calorie stats. Whiteside does not set a good pick, and on a pick-and-roll heavy team that has hurt Lillard and McCollum, who have had to work harder for space.
Portland needs what Carmelo can bring — buckets. He’s not going to get old-school isolation touches on the wing (although coach Terry Stotts would be smart to throw him a couple a game), but Anthony in the past has shown he can be a catch-and-shoot guy who can space the floor and hit threes. Portland desperately needs that. They need a guy who takes the shot or moves the ball, not one who stops it or pounds it into the ground a dozen times then makes a decision. Portland needs a four who can defend well enough not to get played off the floor (and you can be sure teams will test Anthony early and often).
Anthony can do all those things. He can be the player that helps turn Portland’s season around.
He just has to grab his chance and take it.
2) Boos rain down on Kristaps Porzingis, but it is Marcus Morris that gets the ultimate revenge with game-winner for Knicks. Kristaps Porzingis’ return to Madison Square Garden went exactly as expected — Knicks fans unleashed their venom on him.
Knicks fans felt betrayed. Porzingis was the Porzingod when he first came to New York, the anointed savior of the franchise who would return it to the promised land (read: playoffs).Porzingis put up numbers and made an All-Star team, but injuries slowed him, and eventually his relationship with then team president Phil Jackson soured to the point KP blew off an exit interview at the end of the season. A new Knicks front office — president Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry, and coach David Fizdale — could not salvage things. Even while out recovering from a torn ACL, the relationship worsened to the point Porzingis and his agent/brother went into Mills’ office and demanded a trade (something the Knicks had privately already been working on). The next day he was sent to Dallas and the Knicks scapegoated him as not wanting to be there.
Knicks fans started in on KP the lay-up lines pregame, and “KP Sucks” chants broke out all night.
Porzingis finished the night with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting, plus 11 rebounds. Good but not eye-popping numbers, still better than most of his games to start the season. After 20 months off, Porzingis is still shaking off the rust, and getting used to playing next to Luke Doncic (who had a triple-double of 33 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds).
Now this is behind him, and Porzingis can focus on getting his groove back and becoming the All-Star next to Doncic that the Mavericks need — and that would be his ultimate revenge on New York.
3) Paul George scores 33 in debut for Clippers, but Los Angeles still falls to New Orleans. Paul George is smooth — despite missing all of training camp and the first 10 games of the season recovering from shoulder surgeries (plural), he looked fluid in his return to the court Thursday.
And he scored 33 points.
The rust was there. George had defensive miscommunications with teammates and got himself in foul trouble. Also, his handle is not all the way back yet (Jrue Holiday stripped him three times at the end of the game). George needs time on the court.
“That’s the best my shoulders have felt in a really long time, so I knew coming into tonight shooting wouldn’t be a problem,” George added. “Just playing basketball is what I’m lacking right now.”
Holiday was brilliant with 36 points leading the Pelicans to a 132-127 victory. Derrick Favors had a 20/20 game, and Frank Jackson added 23 points off the bench.
Saturday night against Atlanta the Clippers are expected to have George and Kawhi Leonard on the court together. Then we get to witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Death Star.
From LeBron through Patrick Mahomes, everyone reacting to Carmelo Anthony return
While Anthony didn’t have a lot of love in NBA front offices, he remains wildly popular among other players and fans. Something obvious on NBA Twitter in the wake of the Anthony news breaking. Check out the reactions from other players.
Off to an ugly 4-8 start this season — despite Damian Lillard tearing it up at an MVP level — the Portland Trail Blazers are desperate for any help in the frontcourt they can find, especially a four who can stretch the floor.
Enter Carmelo Anthony.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the story.
Portland is signing Carmelo Anthony, league source tells ESPN.
He will join the team during its upcoming six-game road trip. Lillard is reportedly on board with this.
Damian Lillard was notified on the potential of adding Carmelo Anthony last night and he made it clear that he’s always been supportive of bringing in the future Hall-of-Famer, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Portland searching for a boost to what has been a slow start.
Portland visits Houston on Monday of that road trip — the last team that ‘Melo played for.
This is really a low-risk move by the Blazers thanks to the non-guaranteed contract. If it doesn’t work out, Portland just moves on.
Anthony has been searching for a path back into the NBA through most of last season — the Rockets let him go after just 10 games, deciding to part ways — and this past summer, with no takers until now. Two issues were holding teams back. First has been concern about his willingness to accept a role. ‘Melo is losing the race with Father Time and is no longer a top offensive option, yet he reportedly wanted to be treated like one — and get the touches of one. There were concerns he would be disruptive, something he (and the people around him) pushed back hard against.
The second issue was ‘Melo’s defense, which has gone from not good to dreadful. In an NBA where big men now have to cover more in space, Anthony has been exposed. And will be again.
Portland was in the right position to roll the dice on Anthony.
Portland has an elite backcourt led by Damian Lillard, who is averaging 30.5 points per game and carrying the offense. His backcourt partner CJ McCollum has struggled out of the gate, but Portland isn’t really worried about him finding his rhythm soon and getting back to being himself.
The frontcourt, however, has been a disaster. Jusuf Nurkic — their third-best player last season, and at points arguably their second-best — is out until likely after the All-Star break from a fractured leg that required surgery. The Blazers had hoped Zach Collins would take a step forward this season and fill that role both at the five and as a stretch four, but he is out four months following shoulder surgery. Pau Gasol was signed this summer but he has yet to step on the court and is battling a foot issue.
Hassan Whiteside was a big off-season move (via trade), but he has played like he always has — sporadic effort and empty calorie stats. His inability to set a good pick has hurt the ability of Lillard and McCollum to find space. Beyond that, Anthony Tolliver and Skal Labissiere getting plenty of minutes.
In that context, adding Anthony to see if it can work out makes sense.
If not, the Blazers can just move on, but you know Anthony will be motivated to make this work.
PBT Podcast: What’s going on with the Knicks? Plus, we answer your questions.
On an entire podcast based around questions — mostly questions from you, our readers and listeners, on a range of NBA topics — we had to start with that one about the Knicks.
Tommy Beer from Forbes Magazine and NBC Sports Rotoworld joins me to talk what has gone wrong with the Knicks this season, where they go from here, and just how worried David Fizdale should be about his job.