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The 5 Stages of Accepting Carmelo Anthony

Coping with Portland’s latest move and all it means.

Portland Trail Blazers v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

On November 14th, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Portland Trail Blazers were planning to sign Carmelo Anthony. Many Portland fans had mixed emotions when they heard the news. I know I did.

But then I did something I never do; I attempted to sort through my feelings in a healthy and productive manner. I journaled, letting my thoughts flow through my pen and onto the page. If you’re still coming to terms with the acquisition, please consult my 5 Stages of Accepting Carmelo Anthony as a Trail Blazer. I hope it helps you find peace during these troubled times.

Stage 1: Denial

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, noooooo! NO! NO!

This can’t be real. The Blazers aren’t that desperate, the hour not that late! It’s only been 12 games! We’re still integrating new pieces! Give the roster a moment to gel, for pity’s sake!

Wait — the team still hasn’t confirmed the signing yet! I bet Woj just got this one wrong! He does that a lot, right? One time he incorrectly claimed that Julius Randle needed foot surgery. Or once he tweeted that Phil Jackson wasn’t going to work for the Knicks, but then Phil totally went to work for the Knicks. This is probably another one of those times when the most-reliable news breaker in sports breaks the wrong news!

Oh please let it be one of those times.

Stage 2. Anger

I knew it was a mistake to trade Meyers Leonard! This is what happens when you break up continuity. We had a roster that made the Western Conference Finals, and we smashed it like this rare antique vase!

*At this point, I chucked a rare antique vase at the wall*

Who signed off on this? What nincompoop watched Carmelo look too old and slow to hang on in Houston or OKC, then thought to themselves, “Hey, you know what? I bet all he needed was 12 months away from the game to get even older.”

And on top of it, Carmelo’s wearing double-zero for his jersey? That’s Kevin Duckworth’s number! Is he trying to zero-up Damian Lillard? Who allowed this to happen? Who’s responsible for shattering my life into a million pieces like this priceless Fabergé egg?!

*At this point, I spiked a priceless Fabergé egg*

Stage 3: Bargaining

This will be fine. No, actually, this will be great! Or, at the very least, it can’t get any worse... Can it?

Maybe we’ll get a new Melo. Shoot, maybe we’ll get Olympic Melo! Maybe he’ll accept that his role has changed and tailor his game accordingly. Maybe his career revival will serve as the ultimate testament to Damian Lillard’s leadership, Terry Stotts’ coaching, and the franchise’s touted culture. Maybe all Carmelo needed was the right team, and maybe that’s us!

Please, basketball gods, please let this work. Please allow Carmelo to flourish in a Blazers uniform. I know you are cruel and vengeful gods, and clearly our alternative lifestyles in Portland have offended you in some way, but please. After forty years of cruel and unusual punishment, take mercy on us. I’ll become your humble servant and do whatever you ask.

Want me to set more back screens? Done. Petition my rec league to abolish the three-point line because it doesn’t belong in Naismith’s beautiful game? Easy. Stop telling girls that Miles, Mason and Marshall Plumlee are my biological brothers? Fine. Destroy my candlelit shrine to Adam Morrison? Already destroyed. (JK I’d never do that last one.)

Please, please just let this work.

Stage 4: Depression

I’m sorry, Al-Farouq. I took you for granted. The cherished memories we shared must have followed you to Orlando, because all I can find in their place are bitter regrets. I lay in bed with my headphones blasting Blink 182 to cover the voice inside my head screaming it’s my fault you’re gone, but all it sounds like is miss aminu, miss aminu...

The other day, I stopped on the sidewalk to watch two squirrels chase each other. Their merry asides proved a welcome respite from my troubled thoughts, plagued of late by a never-ending loop of Carmelo jab stepping. As the squirrels frolicked, one of them ran into the street and was squashed by a car. The driver never slowed down. As the car sped off, I pulled up my hood and kept walking. Autumn gives way to Winter, and shadows grew all around me.

“Swing as hard as you can swing. It will still mean nothing.” - Burn it to the Ground, Nickelback

In the end, nothing matters. Everything turns to dust, especially the hopes and dreams of Trail Blazer fans.

Temperatures are rising, polar ice caps are melting, and the Blazers are 14th in the West. As the world spins closer to oblivion, I try and look towards the future with a brave face. A future where I never experience the joy of parading through Portland to celebrate a Trail Blazer championship. A future where I never regale my grandson, Damian Lamonte Ollie Plumlee Jr., with tales of how his namesake won the NBA Finals. My brave facade falters as I imagine the world we’re leaving little Dame Jr., and my heart breaks as I accept that it won’t include any natural resources or a Blazers championship.

I struggle through the present and weep for the future. Ball is life, but life is pain.

Stage 5: Acceptance

Well, at least he’s not Raymond Felton.