Carmelo Anthony Is Coming Back, as a Portland Trail Blazer

Carmelo Anthony Is Coming Back, as a Portland Trail Blazer

November 16, 2019

Carmelo Anthony — at long last — has found a home.

The Portland Trail Blazers and the 10-time All-Star have agreed to a deal, according to a person with knowledge of the deal who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. The agreement was first reported on Thursday night by ESPN, which said the contract was non-guaranteed. Anthony, 35, last played in an N.B.A. game on Nov. 8, 2018, when he was with the Houston Rockets. He was cut by the team soon after as he struggled adjusting to a secondary role.

After his tenure with the Rockets, Anthony’s future in the league was in doubt. He had just come off a difficult season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he was traded after more than six seasons with the Knicks. But Anthony insisted that he could still be a productive N.B.A. player. When asked this month if he wanted to play, Anthony said: “2,000 percent. Make that the headline.” He also said he was surprised that he was still unemployed.

So, it seems, were some of his friends.

“It’s about damn time!” Dwyane Wade, the retired Miami Heat guard, tweeted in response to the report of Anthony’s deal. LeBron James responded to Wade’s tweet: “RIGHT!!!!”

Several other players also posted their congratulations, including Jamal Crawford, Isaiah Thomas and Enes Kanter, who was part of the trade that landed Anthony with the Thunder.

Portland will be Anthony’s seventh N.B.A. team. He started in Denver, playing there for more than six seasons after the team drafted him No. 3 overall in 2003, behind James and Darko Milicic. From there he went to the Knicks, then spent a season with Oklahoma City and 10 games with Houston. He also was on the rosters for Chicago and Atlanta, cities where he did not even suit up.

The Trail Blazers have struggled this season, starting off 4-8. They have been just above the league average on offense, where Anthony’s skills can help the most. Over a 16-year career, Anthony has been one of the league’s most prolific scorers, averaging 24 points over more than 1,000 games.

Assuming Anthony can quickly acclimate with Portland, he will have a homecoming of sorts to look forward to on New Year’s Day — when the Trail Blazers travel to Madison Square Garden to play the Knicks. Portland will play the Rockets in Houston on Monday.

Marc Stein contributed reporting.

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