Alright. I’ve been tasked with writing the obligatory “Should the Trail Blazers go after Carmelo Anthony” article. Fun.
Rather than wasting 800 words belaboring an obvious conclusion I’ll go ahead and let Blazer’s Edge Professor Emeritus Timmay! handle that one:
You know this topic is inevitable, so let's face it head-on:— Timmay (@pdxTimmay) November 12, 2018
Would you want the Blazers to pick up Carmelo Anthony?
If this was Deadspin I’d just end this blog right now. But it’s not, so let’s go through the motions.
But, seriously, should the Blazers sign Melo?
Anthony isn’t technically a free agent yet, but there’s been enough rumbling that he’s on his way out to create a #content avalanche for our old friend David MacKay over at Rockets Wire. Seriously, the Melo-drama has created TWELVE articles in two days. It’s safe to assume his departure is imminent.
What, exactly, happened in Houston to lead to this falling out isn’t entirely clear. Anthony hasn’t been a model of consistency for the Rockets — in his 10 appearances he’s scored either fewer than nine points or more than 22 points all but once. In four of those ten games he’s taken ten or more shots and converted on 30 percent or less. He’s shooting less than 33 percent on 3-pointers, which can’t sit too well with the efficiency-obsessed Rockets front office. Melo may also have been contributing to the Rockets comically bad defensive problems.
However, several NBA players, including Damian Lillard, Evan Turner, Dwyane Wade, and Anthony’s former teammate Paul George have all urged outsiders to respeck Melo and implied or outright said that Anthony could not be the primary source for Houston’s struggles.
I’ll go ahead and assume their implicit point is that if putrid shooting and a lack of defensive effort were dealbreakers, James Harden would be on his way to Minnesota right now.
Remember Rod Strickland circa 2001?
Anthony’s fall from grace after only 10 games is almost stunningly abrupt, especially after he agreed to come off the bench after starting the first 1054 games of his career. (Read that again; 1054 consecutive starts is insane.)
It might be tempting to guess that the Rockets are using Melo as a scapegoat, or that they felt obligated to dump him with Jeff Bdzelik rejoining the squad later this month. If either of those things are true, then one could, theoretically, connect some dots and end up at “the Blazers could use a veteran scorer like Melo! Dame and co. are the second chance he needs!”
After all, the Blazers are not so flush with talent that they should pass up opportunities to improve for free. This is still a team that’s starting Jake Layman and has Meyers Leonard playing rotation minutes. Reinforcing the roster isn’t, inherently, a non-issue.
But the reality is that two veteran teams have chosen to cut Anthony, even after his reported attitude adjustment this offseason. It would reek of hubris to declare, “Our locker room is soooo special we can fix Melo when the Rockets and Thunder couldn’t.” Blazers fans remember Rod Strickland acting as a final match igniting the pile of dynamite that was the 2001 team and the Timberwolves just watched Jimmy Butler torpedo their season. A single talented but disenchanted player can destroy a locker room. With the Blazers playing their best ball since 2015, Melo just isn’t worth the risk.