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Lillard, McCollum: Recruitment of Carmelo Anthony was Overblown

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Per Casey Holdahl, Lillard and McCollum say they briefly chatted with Anthony — nothing more.

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The summer of 2017 was filled with trade rumors surrounding former Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony; many included the Portland Trail Blazers as a possible destination. But while much was made of star guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum contacting Anthony, Trail Blazers digital reporter Casey Holdahl reports that their involvement in an ultimately unsuccessful recruitment was likely overstated.

While it’s true that both players made a pitch, the lengths to which they went to convince Anthony might have been blown a little out of proportion.

“People made a big deal about it,” said McCollum. “We openly recruited him twice, that was it. Somebody asked us about it, we told them. I was in New York all summer and I talked to him about it one time. Told him about our team and how he could help and that was the end of it. We worked out, I never mentioned it again. It wasn’t like we were in pursuit like people made it out to be.”

Instead, Anthony opted to join Russell Westbrook and Paul George in Oklahoma City, a decision that neither McCollum nor Lillard hold against the 12-time All-Star.

“You knew he was going to get moved somewhere, you just didn’t know where,” said Lillard. “We were one of the options and it didn’t work out. I didn’t have much of a reaction to it…. A little after he got traded we spoke. He wished me luck, I wished him luck. That was it.”

Anthony has seen virtually no drop in production alongside Westbrook and George this season, averaging 21.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. The Thunder opened their season 4-4 with their three-headed monster and will face the Trail Blazers for the first time Sunday night.