The Portland Trail Blazers were reported to be in hot pursuit of New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony this summer, with star guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum trying to woo the high-scoring forward to join them in the Rose City. Ultimately Anthony waived his no-trade clause to accept a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder, joining NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and and perennial All-Star Paul George instead.
In an audio interview published yesterday, Oregonian columnist John Canzano reviewed the move, and the reasoning for it, with Marc Stein of the New York Times. Stein suggested that ultimately, Anthony’s decision probably came down to family more than basketball or quality of life in Portland.
"We had a fair bit of discussion about Portland...," Stein said. "... He did say that it meant a lot to him how badly those guys wanted him. I think it really was the distance (that caused him to not be interested). I don't think it was about Portland, the place... I don't think it was about Portland, I think it was about family... presumably his wife and son are going to stay in New York for the bulk of the year. He was in constant contact with (Damian) Lillard and (CJ) McCollum."
Anthony scored 22 points in his debut with the Thunder on Thursday night as they defeated the Knicks 105-84.
For more of Stein’s observations on the Blazers, plus a stream of the full interview, see Canzano’s article.