Carmelo Anthony Talks About NBA Return

Carmelo Anthony‘s first NBA game in 12 months wasn’t remarkable, but being back on the court was satisfying enough for the future Hall of Famer. Anthony scored 10 points and made just four of 14 shots in a loss at New Orleans, but he showed he can still contribute to an NBA team after a year in exile.

Anthony’s long wait to return to the league ended last week when he got an offer to sign a non-guaranteed deal with Portland. It gave Anthony a shot at redemption after brief, disappointing stays with the Thunder and Rockets.

“The greatest feeling of all was to feel wanted by a group of guys who believe in me and my talent and what I can bring to the game,” Anthony said after Tuesday’s contest. “It wasn’t just the players. It was the coaching staff. They really showed a strong level of belief in me and what I can still do.” (Twitter link from Joe Freeman of The Oregonian).

Anthony’s return wasn’t just an important moment for him, notes Jason Quick of The Athletic. Many of his peers also wanted to be part of the experience. Pelicans guard Josh Hart took a picture as Anthony warmed up. Ex-players Nick Van Exel and Antonio Daniels captured it on video. Social media was filled with comments from players and celebrities welcoming Anthony back to the league.

“I think the expression is ‘game recognizes game,’” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of the attention.

Quick adds that many players are dismayed about the way Anthony’s career has fizzled in his later years. While other stars get farewell tours, Anthony was scapegoated for a bad situation in New York, seemed to be a poor fit in Oklahoma City, then was told to leave the team after 10 games in Houston. Some believe he was blackballed around the league, and they want him to enjoy a more gracious farewell from the game.

“I feel like it’s been an unfair shake towards him,” new teammate Rodney Hood said. “Everybody knows how talented he is. But you know how it is in this league; once there is a narrative about a guy, it sticks with you and follows you. The fact that he got waived was crazy to me, and that nobody picked him up earlier than now is crazy as well. I’ve always advocated for his return.”

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni insists Anthony doesn’t deserve to be blamed for what happened in Houston. He said last year’s team, which stumbled out of the gate, wasn’t “structurally ready” to play and had problems that extended far beyond Anthony.

“It wasn’t his fault,” D’Antoni said. “It was everybody. We just got off to a slow start and wanted to go a little different route. He did everything we asked, and he was good when he was here. I hope it works (in Portland). He’s a leader. There was nothing at all, not even a hint of him not doing what we asked or trying, or all of that. It just, for us, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t a good fit at that time.”

Anthony got a few calls from interested teams after the Rockets cut ties with him last November, but no one ever came close to an offer, according to Quick. He eventually told agent Leon Rose not to contact him unless a deal was near completion.

Anthony remained on the Rockets’ roster, although inactive, for two months. In a move to clear cap room, Houston sent him to the Bulls in January, along with enough cash to cover his salary. Ten days later, Chicago placed him on waivers.

Blazers star Damian Lillard, who tried to recruit Anthony to Portland in the summer of 2017, was shocked that he spent a whole year out of the NBA.

“It wasn’t like Melo did something crazy to get kicked out of the league,” Lillard said. “A player of his caliber, without a reputation for doing wild stuff, and there’s not a real reason for him not to get an opportunity? It was weird. And I think that’s why so many people are in support of him, because they respect him, they are a fan of him, and they know he can still play.”

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5 thoughts on “Carmelo Anthony Talks About NBA Return

  1. windycitykid89

    I mean…what did he expect? Teams did not want to sign Melo because he refused to play off the bench, and he refuses to play any type of defense whatsoever. I don’t think this signing will last long either.

  2. x%sure

    So it’s always somebody else’s fault then. GMs, being a lot of somebody elses, have noticed.

  3. harden-westbrook-mvps

    And Melo was also -20 for the game, the lowest for either team.

    • jump shot

      He’s not Jordan…. so to expect him to have a great game under ALL the circumstances would have been unrealistic. He had the type of game most GOOD players would have after being out of the game for a year and getting thrown right into the fire. Hell, many players in the league have had the same stats in a game this season and have been playing regularly. Melo will be fine…. it’s just basketball.

  4. MarlinsFanBase

    Same Melo. It’s never him. It’s everyone else.

    Melo as a person seems like a solid guy and respect to him for not ever placing himself in a situation off the court where he had to be kicked out of the league. However, on the court, everyone knows the deal, which is where his problem lies. He basically shoots the ball to ‘get his’, but it hinders winning. He is about volume to get his points; not efficiency. Then, you add that with not passing or playing within a team oriented offense as he sticks to his beloved ISOs, which doesn’t fit with other star players, especially the ones that have been better than him. You add that his rebounds are the long ones that he, as a 6’8 FORWARD, gets around the perimeter against GUARDS. He doesn’t do much rebounding in the paint against the other FORWARDS and Centers like a FORWARD should be doing. Then, to finish everything off, he does not play any defense. And if this type of player wasn’t enough, he refuses to stick with systems throughout his career way back to Denver, throughout his time in NY, and how he tried to continue in OKC and Houston, but couldn’t because he was no longer under an enabling owner, and was playing with talent that was better than him. The finishing touch is that he doesn’t learn when you consider on his draft night, he announced he’d be the best player of that draft, which included LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosch, who are all better all around players than him. He continued in Denver when they had to get teammates to talk to him in order to get him to stick with George Karl’s system, which hid all of Melo’s flaws. Then, during “Lin-Sanity” in NY, after the team found a way to win games and save their season while he was injured, he made it clear when he was returning that he would not adjust his game to the system that was winning games because “I been doin’ this fo’ years. Mah teammates need to ‘djust to me.” Later on, Mike d’Antoni and the Knicks parted ways because d’Antoni wanted to trade Melo, but the owner refused. Then, came Melo’s experiences in OKC and Houston (again with d’Antoni).

    People wonder why he was not picked up? This is why. Same thing happen to Allen Iverson…ironically one of Melo’s teammates in Denver who was traded for the same reason at an older age. One would think that a younger Melo would’ve seen and experienced that and would’ve learned not to repeat history by being the same way.

    On a final note, it’s going to be very laughably entertaining to see Hassan Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony on the same team trying to share the ball. Poor Damian Lillard. LOL!

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