NBA Rumor: Carmelo Anthony Free Agency

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Sirius XM NBA: Where will Carmelo Anthony play next season? His former head coach George Karl tells Justin Termine and Eddie Johnson why the Blazers are a perfect fit. pic.twitter.com/3v8s21VWLU

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Jason Quick: So when he makes his decision, it is not going to come down to money; it will be about his role and his fit. If Olshey, Lillard and McCollum can convince Anthony to take something like a 17-to-22 minute role off the bench, maybe they can work something out. In the meantime, I think Anthony searches for another team where he can play big minutes. If there are no suitors, he knows he can trust his experience with Olshey and the Blazers and listen to their pitch.

Ian Begley: Carmelo was really considering going to the Bulls when Thibodeau was coaching them in his free agency summer with the Knicks. It was Knicks, Bulls, Knicks, Bulls. And I was told at least he kept changing his mind. So I think because of that he likes the idea of playing for Thibodeau. And I would think if his buddy Chris Paul gets traded to the Knicks, and that’s not a foregone conclusion or anything, but that certainly increases the odds that Carmelo Anthony ends up here back in New York.

Carmelo Anthony hopes to stay a Blazer

Will Carmelo Anthony still be a Trail Blazer next season? If you ask Melo, he sure hopes so. When he was asked what type of things he will value when thinking about where he will play next year, Melo said he “pray” that he will be with the Trail Blazers. I pray that it can be Portland. Honestly, I think that I found a home in Portland. I got comfortable with the organization. I got comfortable with the guys on the team. They got comfortable with me. At this point in my career, I do think that’s the best fit for me… I really hope it can be Portland at the end of the day. — Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony

Former Knicks president Steve Mills wanted no part of Anthony after Anthony forced a trade and didn’t open up his wish list. (Anthony had a no-trade clause). It still worked out. The Knicks netted what turned into second-year center Mitchell Robinson, selected with Oklahoma City’s second-round pick in 2018. There is strong belief the Brooklyn-born Anthony would want to finish his career as a Knick and play for Thibodeau, whom he has publicly praised. He showed up to the Orlando restart bubble for Portland in terrific shape, earning the nickname “Skinny Melo.” Anthony is down to the 230-235-pound range and can’t remember the last time he was that light.

If the Knicks decide to look for a forward via free agency who can shoot, Danilo Gallinari, Carmelo Anthony and Christian Wood are potential options. Some members of the Knicks front office were enamored with Wood over the course of the season. Regarding Anthony, prior to free agency last summer, the Knicks strongly considered signing the ex-Knick if they were able to land two other stars. They missed out on the stars in free agency, which took Anthony out of their plans. Rose, the current team president, was Anthony’s agent. The two remain close. Worth pointing out: the Knicks being open to looking for a big who can shoot doesn’t necessarily reflect a desire to move on from Randle.

With Rose taking over, there have been rumblings about Anthony ending his career with the Knicks. Anthony, who said he wants to play next season, wouldn’t rule out a return to New York, and said the Knicks and Madison Square Garden will always be special to him. “It’s hard to say because I don’t know what that situation is going to be,” Anthony said. “The easiest thing to say is, ‘His agent is there, he’s coming back.’ Until I sit down and see the whole plan, I don’t know. “Me and him, we talk multiple times a week. That’s not something we even discuss. I still think it’s still a shock for everybody. When the offseason comes, I got to be careful [what I say] now because it’s tampering.”

“The conversation was different than it had been (with other teams). I felt welcomed and wanted as opposed to me pitching myself to somebody. When you feel that, it’s hard to turn that down.” The opportunity to play with Lillard and McCollum appealed to him, too. “Me and ‘Dame’ have always talked,” Anthony said. “CJ and I worked out together in the summers (in L.A.). I always stayed connected and in tune with what was going on in Portland.”

Carmelo Anthony is off to Portland! On Sunday, the NBA player’s ex, La La Anthony, posted an Instagram photo of their son Kiyan, 12, sharing a sweet goodbye with his father, who is moving to a new state after signing with the Portland Trailblazers last week. In the photo, Kiyan stood beside Carmelo, 35, as the preteen held a basketball in his hand. “He is his dad’s #1 fan & super excited for this new opportunity…but when it’s all said and done, he’s still a 12yr old that is going to miss his dad 😢🙏🏽🏀,” La La, 38, wrote. “Portland you got a great one 🏀🙏🏽#portlandtrailblazers #stayme7o.”

Lillard and McCollum both reached out to Carmelo Anthony after he agreed to sign with the Trail Blazers. Anthony has not played since Nov. 8, 2018, with the Houston Rockets, but he spent the past summer working out with McCollum and others. “He looks like he’s changed his body a little bit,” McCollum said. “Started lifting more on his legs, his lower half. He was dunking this summer. He doesn’t usually dunk, so that’s how I knew he was feeling good. I don’t know if it was because of the work or because he’s been off or a combination, but he looked like he had new life, more bounce in his step.”

Here’s the reality check, though: The other alternatives probably would have failed too. There’s a reason we call players like this “replacement level” and not “improvement level.” The Blazers might only have a 15 percent chance of this working, but that’s better than the zero percent chance they had with the status quo. Of course, it’s unlikely to pay off; in-season street free agents don’t make the All-Star team. Most of the time, they’re available for a reason.

However, they had to do something. For now, they’ll try Melo, but his non-guaranteed contract gives Portland the flexibility to try something else at the snap of a finger. If he doesn’t work they’ll try calling somebody up from the G League (some plausible names: Jarrod Uthoff, Marcus Derrickson, and Dedric Lawson), or turn to another veteran chilling on his couch (Dante Cunningham and Lance Thomas are waiting by their phones, among others), or work the angles for a low-stakes trade.

After the rest of the 2018-2019 season went by, many thought Anthony would have signed with a team over the summer and already be back on an NBA court this season. But strangely enough, the 2013 NBA scoring champion is still a free agent. On Thursday at the 25th Annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit, Anthony was in attendance as an honoree and expressed his desire to get back in the NBA when asked by media. “2000 percent. Make that the headline,” Anthony said.

You’ve been fortunate to still get calls from teams at this point in your career. Why do you think Carmelo Anthony hasn’t gotten the same chance? Vince Carter: Situations are different. I think it’s just timing at this point. I definitely think he deserves to be in the NBA. He’s one of the most prolific scorers this league has seen at many levels. Pure scorer. I think in time a team will grab him, a playoff team who needs a scorer with his ability. If he’s willing to come off the bench, I think he’ll help a team with his starters mentality.

Former NBA forward Stephen Jackson firmly believes NBA execs are blackballing Carmelo Anthony. In a recent edition of Jackson’s video podcast with Matt Barnes called “All the Smoke,” Jackson claims a mass text has been sent through NBA execs saying, “Don’t f— with Carmelo Anthony.” “It’s the same situation they did to a lot of players,” Jackson said. “They put him in a situation they know he’s not going to succeed, make it look like he can’t play no more, make it look like he’s a cancer and just push him out. And once they get you to that point where you’re a cancer or you can’t play no more, it’s a text that’s sent out to every team — it’s a mass text that sent out to every team, every team’s CC’d, ‘Don’t f— with him.’ “

Those in Anthony’s innermost circle are deeply wary of any information or narratives that might affect his ability to play in the league again. And while Anthony believes — or so he said on ESPN — that he’d be “at peace” if he never plays in the league again, he knows that this ending will haunt him, a former teammate over multiple seasons says: “He doesn’t want to go out like this.” Wade and Kobe Bryant received a farewell tour, both of them Anthony’s close friends. LeBron James, another longtime friend, will likely receive one too. “[Anthony] wants to go out like that,” his former teammate says.

Anthony’s headlong dive into basketball exile is partly the story of the game’s dramatic evolution that placed him on the wrong side of history. But it’s also partly the story about the pratfalls of greatness — and how stars often decline as steeply as they rise to dominance. “When you’re one of the top 10 players in our league for 10 years, you think it’s going to be there forever,” says one of Anthony’s former NBA coaches. “They’re always the last ones to know.”

In 2018-19, Anthony had an offensive rating of 102.3 and a net rating of minus-9.9 — both the worst of his career. “He just can’t play NBA defense anymore,” one Rockets source says, but the offensive woes ultimately calcified the Rockets’ thought that they had gambled and lost. Still, there remains a measure of guilt among some in and near the organization and within Anthony’s circle. “I feel awful that it ended the way it did,” says another Rockets source. “He would have been better off either going to Miami or just not playing. But those 10 games … basically ruined him.”

After losing Wilson Chandler to a 25-game suspension, Anthony and players such as Dante Cunningham, Lance Thomas and Luol Deng emerged as viable options to sign. There’s been a sense around the Nets that players are hopeful to bring in Anthony, but the trust belongs with the front office. However, the Nets are very unlikely to sign Anthony as of now, league sources told The Athletic.

SNY: Why do you think it didn’t work out with the Rockets and Carmelo last season? Fertitta: “You know, it’s really unusual because I never really got a chance to meet Melo but all I heard is what a gentleman he was and that he was going to play whatever part or role on the team that the coaches wanted him to play. And basketball ops decided to make a decision and, you know, it kinda surprised me too, as a fan of the Houston Rockets. But I know what I know and I know what I don’t know. And if my basketball ops thought that we should move on, then I sure wasn’t going to tell them not to, even though I thought that Melo’s one the greatest players to ever play the game.”

He was beloved by many as a Knick. Many of the public want to know: Will Melo latch on with a team this season? Well, we’ve got the voice of the Knicks on Line 1, literally! Insert MSG Networks’ hoops color commentator, Walt “Clyde” Frazier. “I hope so man,” Frazier, the NBA Hall of Famer, Knicks legend told me in a one-on-one interview on Monday. “I don’t like what’s happening to him. He should have a swan song. I’m confident that somebody will give him a chance.”

With injured Kevin Durant expected to miss most, if not all, of the season, Wilson Chandler suspended for 25 games for PEDs and Rodions Kurucs facing a possible suspension after being charged in an alleged domestic assault, the Nets have dire needs at forward. That makes Anthony more of a position fit. Sources had told the Post that several veterans were lobbying the front office on Anthony’s behalf. The Athletic reported that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were among them and that GM Sean Marks had taken a look at the former Knicks star recently.

So I asked a whole bunch of people around the league if there was a team, or teams, that made sense with regard to Anthony, and if he can still play. For the sake of argument, I told each to assume that a) ‘Melo was in viable NBA shape, and b) wouldn’t ask for something prohibitive contract-wise, so that any team, including those close to the luxury tax line, could fit him in. Here’s what they said. Current NBA head coach: “Yes, with the right team. A vet team. Also, a team that is not looking at analytics. He is still a talent.” Current NBA head coach: “Hall of Fame player.” Western Conference executive: “Miami, if he is willing to work with (Pat) Riley hard on conditioning. He can replace D-Wade’s scoring. Or, Portland. They play a lot of isolation basketball and they need another scorer. Carmelo is a dinosaur in today’s NBA. Everyone wants ball movement and three-point shooting; not Melo’s forte.”

“I tried, two years ago I tried to get ‘Melo to come to Portland, and he went to Oklahoma City,” Lilard said. “Then after that, I tried to get him to come to Portland again, and he went to Houston. So at this point…” “You’re not putting your hand out again,” Budden asked. “The team or me,” Lillard replied. “I’m like, ‘he ain’t coming here,’ you know what I’m saying? He deserves to be in the league, but he ain’t coming here.”

The second leg of the pitch Anthony is making to teams could prove to be appealing when it comes to those concerned that Anthony would be a locker-room distraction: He’s a good distraction. “That’s the idea,” the source said. “He’s got a lot of friends in the league, he is liked by other players. He’s got friends in the media. He doesn’t get into trouble off the court, he never has. They’re really disputing this whole idea that he’s a team cancer.”

Nets stars interested in Carmelo Anthony?

Carmelo Anthony is scheduled to work out on Thursday with a group of New York Knicks in Manhattan but it’s the other team in town that continues to closely monitor the 10-time All-Star.The Brooklyn Nets remain interested in potentially signing Anthony, who recently trained with a group of their players in Los Angeles, including Kyrie Irving. In fact, one source told The Athletic that Irving and Kevin Durant, who both joined the Nets in July, are “pushing” the club to sign Anthony.

Nets General Manager Sean Marks will have the final say, and it’s unclear if Marks is willing to take a chance on Anthony, who was born in Brooklyn and remains a popular player among New York basketball fans. Anthony has not played in an NBA game since being banished by the Houston Rockets last November. Marks, according to a source, did watch Anthony train recently in what was described as an informal workout. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has also watched Anthony play this summer.

Gilbert Arenas: I remember the reports named Houston as a possible destination for him to land. I said ‘Hell no’ don’t go there it is going a disaster and it is not going to work. You just for the first time in your career played with two ball-dominant players and it made you the third option. So, to go right back to a team that is going to make you again the third option is a disaster. Go to the Lakers where you might come off the bench, but you are going to be the first option in the fourth quarter because that is what they are going to need from Melo. They need a 6’9 guy that can open up the floor, play your iso basketball, and that helps the rest of the Lakers. LeBron passes to everyone else, and you play iso basketball it all works. He goes to Houston and after ten games he is gone. Melo needs to me in a position where the last five minutes of the game he is the go-to guy. If you are not the go-to guy what are you on the court for because don’t have any other skill to be used. You are a fourth-quarter last five-minute iso guy that is your skill.

But All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both spurned the Knicks for Brooklyn. The latter has organized a number of Nets for workouts in Los Angeles, including Caris LeVert and Taurean Prince, and Anthony has joined in. But neither the Nets nor Knicks have shown any interest in bringing Anthony in for next season, with Brooklyn’s roster at 15. “Nothing to it,” a source close to Anthony told The Post. “There’s several guys (playing) that aren’t Nets, but friends and other NBA players.”
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