Storyline: Carmelo Anthony to Blazers?

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“I didn’t want to press him,” Lillard said of Anthony. “I ain’t a big fan of doing all the extra recruiting and all that stuff. And I guess they call it tampering or whatever. It’s not against the rules for us to interact with each other. We all peers, we all play in the same league and everybody hints at playing with each other. ‘What you think about this?’ ‘What do you think about that?’ All that matters is whether it got done or did not get done. Or hasn’t got done, and it hasn’t got done. So, it is what it is … “I’m not giving up on anything. I just think I’ve done what I can do. And camp is a few weeks away. And you have to focus on getting ready with who we are, plan on going in as we are.”

Anthony has told the Knicks he would waive his no-trade clause only for the Rockets. “If he waives it and wants to come, it would be great,’’ Turner said. “He’ll lock in because he made the decision to come. He’s got all the power in a certain sense. It’s not a guarantee. The positive is if we did get him, that means he wanted to be there and accepted the trade and buckle into what we’re trying to do. “Obviously he’s 6-8. He walks in a gym and he can throw 20 points up in the books. He’s so talented, so big, you can’t leave him alone. He doesn’t miss easy shots.”

Still, I was surprised on Sunday evening to get a call from someone who has known Anthony personally for more than a decade. And when I asked why Portland wasn’t among Anthony’s preferred destinations, I didn’t get a diatribe on basketball, or the rainy weather, or how he needs to know the organization can compete for a title. Instead, I got a pleasant surprise. “‘Melo’s a doting father,” the person said. “He’s a great dad. He’s present and he loves that kid. There’s no way he’s going to leave that little boy in New York and be 3,000 miles away from him.”

Both Blazers guards were at Lillard’s basketball camp in Beaverton on Wednesday. During a media availability, they answered questions about the Knicks’ 10-time All-Star. Lillard declined to share specific details of his conversation with Anthony, but he did say “it’s a real possibility” that Anthony could join the Blazers. “With that being out there and that being a real possibility, I don’t see why I wouldn’t reach out to him and let him know that the interest is mutual if he’s interested in us,” he said. “I don’t think we’d be hearing about it as much if wasn’t a possibility. That was part of the reason why I reached out to him.”

Through a series of cryptic and vague comments on Wednesday at Lillard’s youth basketball camp, both Lillard and McCollum said they have been in contact with Anthony in attempts to lure him to Portland via a trade. “I spoke to him,’’ Lillard said. “Because obviously he makes us a better team. So obviously with that being out there and being a real possibility, I don’t see why I wouldn’t reach out to him and let him know the interest is mutual if he is interested in us.’’

McCollum, who was making an appearance at Lillard’s camp, was more cryptic, saying he has spoke to Anthony “indirectly” through the trainer they both share. He added that he is flying to New York on Thursday to train and will “say hello (to Melo) if he’s there.’’ “If we get him … when we get him … I think we could be top three in the West, easy,’’ McCollum said. “I think he’s interested. Obviously I feel he wants to play with his team – the Banana Boat friends. I know he wants to play with CP (Chris Paul) and LeBron, and those are good options, but I feel we are a good option.’’

Anthony has been tied to trade rumors with a number of teams, most notably the Houston Rockets. Houston reportedly turned its full attention toward acquiring Anthony after the team traded for Chris Paul, and Anthony reportedly is “counting on” being traded to H-Town. But the Rockets apparently aren’t the only Western Conference club interested in Anthony’s services. Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum had the basketball world buzzing Sunday when he posted an Instagram photo with some rather interesting photoshopping.
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September 24, 2017 | 11:15 pm EDT Update