With some of their big men going down one after another with injuries, the Portland Trail Blazers decided to seek frontcourt help and signed veteran small forward Carmelo Anthony on the free agency market. Some people think that adding Anthony is a risky move for the Trail Blazers, especially knowing how his stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets ended.
However, in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN, via Twitter, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard expressed confidence that the 10-time NBA All-Star could help them accomplish their main goal this season.
“I believe he can help us,” Lillard said. “Obviously I’d like to see our early-season struggles turn around, and hopefully, we can be part of a great bounceback for Melo as well.”
In a Twitter post, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Trail Blazers informed Lillard before officially signing Anthony.
“Damian Lillard was notified on the potential of adding Carmelo Anthony last night and he made it clear that he’s always been supportive of bringing in the future Hall-of-Famer, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Portland searching for a boost to what has been a slow start.”
Despite his disastrous stints with the Thunder and the Rockets, it’s easy to understand why Lillard is still very supportive of the idea of bringing Anthony to Portland. Anthony may have failed to coexist with Russell Westbrook and Paul George in Oklahoma City and James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing will happen when he starts playing alongside Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Portland.
There are plenty of reasons why Trail Blazers fans should be optimistic about the acquisition of Anthony. The 35-year-old small forward may no longer be in his prime, but he still has a lot of gas left in his tank.
Also, compared to the past years, Anthony is now willing to come off the bench and accept a reduced role on the offensive end of the floor. If Anthony manages to make himself fit in Portland, the Trail Blazers will have a very reliable contributor in their second unit. If everything goes well, Anthony could become the Trail Blazers’ third-best scoring option next to Lillard and McCollum.
If Anthony proves to be an odd fit on their roster, the Trail Blazers could easily get rid of him. Anthony only signed a non-guaranteed deal with the team that will pay him $14,490 per day. The contract will only be fully guaranteed if Anthony is not waived by January 7, 2019.