Blazers Notes: Carmelo, Lillard, Slow Start

In a video posted to YouTube on Monday, Carmelo Anthony spoke about reaching an agreement to sign with the Trail Blazers, a deal that’s expected to be finalized later today. According to Anthony, he and Damian Lillard had talked “off and on” for the last couple years about the possibility of teaming up, and the 10-time All-Star is excited to get that chance now.

“I always kept my eye on Portland. It just didn’t work at other times, but now it seems like it’s a perfect opportunity,” Anthony said. “… I just look at that opportunity, that team, and say, ‘Look, this is what I can bring to the team. This is where I can help.’ It will only work if all parties see it the same way.”

Here’s more on Carmelo and the Blazers:

  • David Aldridge of The Athletic hopes the marriage between the Blazers and Anthony works out, but is skeptical that it will. One “NBA guy” who spoke to Aldridge expressed a similar uncertainty about the partnership, but did add, “He should help some. ‘Melo can score, period.”
  • Anthony will be joining the Trail Blazers during a trying period for the team — Portland is coming off a blowout loss at the hands of the Rockets and is now 12th in the West at 5-9. As Jason Quick of The Athletic relays, three years ago, when the Blazers were in a similar spot, Lillard publicly said the team “sucked.” But the star point guard isn’t willing to make the same assessment of this year’s squad. “I’m just older,” Lillard said. “It’s not impossible for me to think we suck, but I just better see what can be now. Even then I felt like we were going to be fine … and now, I feel like we are going to be cool. I mean, it’s such a long season. And we’ve won 13 games in a row before. And, things can’t go much worse. They just can’t go much worse.”
  • CJ McCollum also weighed in on the Blazers’ struggles and why he and Lillard are reacting differently than they may have in the past, per Quick: “We were so young (in 2016), so it was more like, we would say the right things but we really didn’t know it was going to happen,” McCollum said. “Yeah, we would say, ‘We are going to turn it around,’’but in the back of your mind it was, ‘Are we really going to turn it around?’ Now, it’s like you understand the schedule, the travel, and you understand the game turns around at some point.”
  • As we noted on Monday, injured center Jusuf Nurkic has officially missed out on a games-played bonus in his contract for the 2019/20 season.
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