Carmelo Anthony is back with the Portland Trail Blazers in the next season, making him one of the longest-tenured players in the NBA. At the media availability day, it was announced the Blazers are looking for Carmelo to come off the bench, which for him was a hard pill to swallow, but he will accept it nevertheless. The Blazers have a solid and a deep team and are ready to make that additional push into the playoffs and potentially get back to the western conference finals.
Carmelo Anthony on coming off the bench: “I had to swallow that pill. We had multiple conversations leading up to me coming back here. It was very honest and transparent from both sides. I was comfortable with the situation. They let me know I will still be a major part.”
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) December 4, 2020
Blazers president Neil Olshey also talked about Carmelo’s impact on the team and how his presence is essential for Blazers’ success. The opposing teams still respect Carmelo and his jump shot, enabling Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to drive to the basket with more ease because they know they will not get double-teamed. The other value he brings to the table is mentorship for the younger players who look up to him because he was their favorite player growing up.
Carmelo still commands from opposing defenses, the presence that he has on the court, the gravity that shifts when guys know they have to stay on all home on him as a shooter because they can’t cheat off him. He’s still Carmelo Anthony. But the other value he provides is for guys like Anthony Simons, Zach Collins, Nassir little CJ lob, Gary Trent, you know, he just a different aura.Neil Olshey
Olshey also makes the distinguishing difference between the impact Carmelo and Lillard have in the sense that he demands a different type of respect from their teammates. When Carmelo was a superstar in the NBA, most guys on their roster were still either in high-school or college, having his posters on their walls, trying to emulate his game. The Blazers are happy to have him on their team this season and believe he can provide added value on their journey to a championship, which is not such an unrealistic idea if they will stay healthy.
You know, they all respect Dame. He’s a Hall of Fame player, but he’s their contemporary more than Carmelo. Carmelo is the guy. They really grew up with his poster on the wall, and that’s not being facetious. Right. You know, I like to joke. I mean, that’s how long we’ve been in the league, you know. Carmelo and I came in as rookies together. That was my first year with the Clippers was Carmelo’s first year in the league. And you know, we’ve kind of tracked it from afar, but, you know, to be able to share the end of his hall of fame journey, to be custodians for that. And that legacy really means a lot to everybody in the organization.Neil Olshey
The Blazers and Carmelo seem to be on the same page regarding his role with the team, which is an excellent thing if you are a Blazers fan. Carmelo proved he can still play valuable minutes, and stressed out he is happy how the team treated him last year when he got there after struggling to find a franchise willing to sign him. The Blazers have an outstanding balance of young and experienced players, and if they can remain healthy, there is no doubt they can make it far into the playoffs. Carmelo’s presence will definitely be a significant factor, and there is no doubt we’ll see him contribute in a big way.