Having spent over a year at home, Carmelo Anthony’s NBA career was considered to be over.
Only, Anthony thought otherwise.
Earlier in November this year, on the day that marked exactly one year of him last playing in the NBA, the 10-time All-Star was asked by journalists about his forced hiatus.
“I’m surprised, of course,” Anthony said. “It is what it is at this point though. I’m sitting back, waiting. We’ll see what happens.”
When another journalist asked if he still had the desire to play in the NBA after a year in the wilderness, his response was swift. “Two thousand percent! Make that the headline.”
Last week, that headline was written after the Portland Trail Blazers signed Anthony on a non-guaranteed contract.
While in basketball purgatory, Anthony consistently spent the past one year making one impassioned pitch after the other for himself. In the offseason, he'd say, “I know I can still play. My peers know I can still play. I don’t think it’s about basketball anymore. I think it’s about me as a person willing to accept certain roles on basketball teams. Am I willing to accept a certain role on a basketball team? Yes.”
Melo, as he’s called fondly in the league, had baulked at the thought of being a role player or a bench player during his previous two stints — with Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets — leading them to end abruptly and quickly.
The Portland deal came out of the blue, but it was hardly surprising. The Western Conference team had won just four of their 12 games when they agreed on the Anthony deal. Their frontcourt has been ravaged by injuries to starters like Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Pau Gasol. They also allowed Al-Farouq Aminu, Meyers Leonard and Moe Harkless to leave the team in offseason, leading to their thin frontcourt strength.
With the team requiring a lot more than a band-aid to stem the flow of blood, they made a move many others would consider desperate. But they could have done a lot worse than getting on board, a 10-time All-Star — not to mention a three-time Olympic gold medallist — who has a point to prove.
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Updated Date: Nov 18, 2019 20:05:53 IST