Carmelo Anthony is back in the NBA as a Portland Trail Blazer. Now what?

Nov 15, 2019

It was a fine, typical NBA Friday game day when a Woj bomb dropped about Carmelo Anthony joining the Portland Trail Blazers.

This development comes after the three-time Olympic gold medalist, who last played for the Houston Rockets, said in a recent interview with TMZ Sports that he will be back in the league "2,000 percent."

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The news got the entire basketball world, including Melo's Banana Boat brothers, hyped:

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NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that Anthony's deal with Portland is non-guaranteed, which means there's no significant financial commitment, and the team can just let him go if things don't work out. Basketball-wise, what does this mean for the parties involved?

For Rip City

The Trail Blazers have gone from being a conference finalist to the third-worst squad in the West (4-8 win-loss record), only better than the Pels (3-8) and Dubs (2-10). Jusuf Nurkic is still on the mend since breaking his leg earlier this year, while Zach Collins recently went down with a shoulder injury. Anthony Tolliver, Mario Hezonja, and rookie Nassir Little can only do so much as power forward replacements.

Simply put, the team can use all the warm bodies they can get to shore up a comically thin frontcourt.

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In a dream scenario, Melo easily slides into their starting 4 spot, which hasn't seen a relevant name after LaMarcus Aldridge left. He then helps the forward rotation, which ranks dead last in field goal percentage (39%) and 27th in average points (36.3), according to ESPN. The 10-time All-Star regains his old form and embraces a reduced role, putting up an efficient 18 points, five rebounds, and a couple of three-pointers per game as Portland bounces back in time for the postseason.

Only this isn't 2013, when Anthony won his lone scoring title. He's as much as a wildcard as Dwight Howard and Markelle Fultz before the season started. He hasn't played an NBA game in over a year, and the last time he did didn't exactly go well (13 points on 41 percent shooting). Who knows which Melo will show up in Rip City?

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For his new teammates

Portland's biggest stars, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, haven't been shy in vouching for Melo — even years ago. CJ, who previously posted a photoshopped image of Melo in their jersey, said in a 2017 youth basketball camp, "If we get him, when we get him, I think we could be Top 3 in the West, easy."

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At the same time, Dame revealed, "I spoke to him (Anthony), because obviously he makes us a better team." Two months ago, he talked in a podcast about failing twice to bring Melo to Rip City, stating, "He deserves to be in the league, but he ain't coming here." It was also reported that the front office got his seal of approval before the deal was finalized.

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This will probably be the first time since the Blazers became Lillard's team that he'll be joined by a player of Anthony's caliber (at least if we measure by Melo's best years). Dame's leadership will be tested on how he makes the most out of Melo's talent and manages his ego for the greater good of the squad. So far, the wild Hassan Whiteside experiment has produced mixed results — what more someone who has been named to the All-NBA Team six times as a franchise cornerstone?

For Melo

Note to Anthony: it would be wrong for him treat this Rip City stint as a farewell tour.

ESPN's Bobby Marks explained that, as per his deal, Melo will earn $14,490 each day, which becomes fully guaranteed if the team decides to keep him by January 7. Money should be the last thing on his mind, though (after all, he already secured the bag with the New York Knicks), especially with Portland having a better chance of turning this campaign around.

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While the addition might not move the needle in the Western playoff picture, it gives head coach Terry Stotts another offensive weapon outside his superstar backcourt of Dame and CJ. The former Coach of the Year runner-up, who was responsible for the 2011 Mavs' efficient championship offense, can either unlock another part of the high-scoring forward's game or turn him off with the free-flowing Blazers system. The difference will spell out how large Anthony's impact would be.

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If this will indeed be his final season, then Melo would definitely want to go out with guns blazing (pun intended). He has one last opportunity to prove his naysayers wrong and be instrumental in getting the ill-fated franchise over the proverbial hump, especially with the NBA championship window currently wide open.

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