Updated: Nov 16, 2019
You heard it right, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced last night around 6 pm that the Portland Trail Blazers have signed Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed contract. If Carmelo Anthony remains on the team through January 8, his contract will become guaranteed and he will count against the Trail Blazers cap for the remainder of the season. Until then, the Blazers can waive Melo if they so please. This means signing Anthony is a no-risk move for the Trail Blazers, with plenty of incentive to make a move like this. After their frontcourt has been decimated to injuries.
In Wojnarowski’s story, he reports Anthony had spoken directly to head coach Terry Stotts and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey before reaching an agreement. The Trail Blazers have been experiencing a significant lack of production coming from their power forward position following the dislocated shoulder injury to third-year big Zach Collins. The Blazers, losing six of their last seven games sign Anthony in hopes he can provide more production at the position.
Although it’s unclear exactly when Anthony will make his debut with the Blazers. He will reportedly take a physical in New York today and will then meet the team meet the Blazers on during their six-game road trip which starts in San Antonio. According to Wojnarowski, Anthony won‘t be available to make his debut until Tuesday in New Orleans when they face the Pelicans. They will then face off against Anthony’s former team, the Houston Rockets on Monday.
Last season Anthony appeared in just 10 games, after being acquired in a trade, before being cut by the Rockets unexpectedly. He averaged 13 points a game in his 10 games with the Rockets. Although his efficiency was nothing to be praised, 13 points a game would still be more than both Anthony Tolliver and Mario Hezonja, the Blazers current power forwards.
Now Blazers fans might be thinking this is Melo’s chance to prove he can still be “Olympic Melo”. This isn’t what Trail Blazers fans should expect or hope for from the 10 time All-Star. The Blazers have three guards who can shoot from just about anywhere on the court have lacked any kind of post presence outside of Hassan Whiteside so far 12 games into the season.
Anthony was once a prolific scorer, like Blazer guard CJ McCollum, utilizing the midrange. What Anthony can do that McCollum has a tendency not to do is play with his back to the basket. Similar to how the Blazers used to play with another mid-post extraordinaire, LaMarcus Aldridge.
If the Blazers can utilize Anthony’s ability to play in the midrange with his back to the basket, that could take the pressure off of perimeter players like Damian Lillard, McCollum and second-year guard Anfernee Simons who look to score predominantly at the rim or beyond the three-point line.
Although the Blazers have struggled defensively early on in the season, Anthony’s scoring ability and reputation as a knockdown shooter could provide enough offensive production to outweigh the Blazers shortcomings defensively and alleviate pressure off Lillard, McCollum and Simons offensively if he can score when given the opportunity.
If Anthony will start or come off the bench for the Trail Blazers is yet to be seen. Personally, I think he could be effective with the first unit. Which likely means Nassir Little no longer sees much playing time with Hezonja coming off the bench behind him.
In the 2012-13 season, Anthony won the NBA league scoring title, averaging 28.7 points per game.
Where do you think Anthony fits on this team? Is this a move we should be excited about? Comment below what you expect from this signing.