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CBS: Carmelo Anthony Among Free Agents Who Benefited From Bubble Play

Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports explains why Melo may be more in demand come free agency.

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Veteran forward Carmelo Anthony joined the Portland Trail Blazers with a flier non-guaranteed contract in November 2019, but he became an important piece due to his offensive production and veteran presence. With Trevor Ariza opting out of the bubble, Portland leaned on Anthony to carry some of the load at the wing position, and he came through with scoring and clutch shots. Anthony’s performance at Disney World helped his stock rise ahead of 2020 NBA Free Agency, according to Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports:

Anthony had played well with the Blazers pre-hiatus, but he took things to another level in the bubble and proved that he’s capable of being some form of the “Olympic Melo” everyone hoped he’d transition into in the latter stages of his career. Anthony shot 47 percent from the 3-point line in seeding games and 42 percent on about four attempts per game in the team’s first-round loss to the Lakers. He averaged 1.286 points per possession on unguarded catch-and-shoot 3-pointers during the series, good for the 66th percentile according to Synergy Sports Technology.

The 10-time All-Star isn’t going to command a max contract like in his prime, but he’d be a worthwhile addition for a team in need of his services:

Anthony also proved that he’s still a reliable option when you need a bucket, averaging 1.286 points per possession on post-ups in the postseason, second only to Ibaka for players with at least 10 qualifying possessions. At 36, he probably won’t get a lucrative multi-year deal, but he proved that he can still be an important offensive player on a playoff team and that he’s willing to adjust his role to what the team needs.

Anthony appeared in 58 games for the Blazers this season, averaging 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per contest. He has stated that Portland is somewhere he’d like to retire, but the New York Knicks are expected to pursue him in free agency as well.