The Portland Trail Blazers were desperate for help as their season began to unravel in the early months of the season, so the team brought in veteran forward Carmelo Anthony on a trial basis with an unguaranteed contract. The move was questioned at the time given Anthony had been removed from the league for over a year due to concerns over his role as his career ages. However, Anthony proved to be one of Portland’s most dependable options this season, starting each of the 58 games in appeared in for the Blazers and providing solid scoring each night (15.4 points per game).
Anthony discussed how joining the Blazers positively impacted him on JJ Redick’s podcast, “The Old Man and the Three”:
“Portland, to me, for many reasons — not just basketball — I needed it. I needed that environment, that peace, I needed to be in a place where I can sit [and] think.”
The veteran talked about how the opportunity was more than just a second chance for him:
“Was it a second chance? Yes it was a second chance. But for me, it was more like, ‘They’re taking a chance on me, and I have to be there for them.’ They called me [and said], ‘We want you.’ And I was like, ‘You want me or you need me?’ ... Because they told me that they needed me, that made me [think], ‘This is where I need to be.’ If they need you, they want you. But if they want you, they don’t need you. It’s a big difference. So I’m like, ‘This is it. Terry [Stotts], what’s my role?’”
Anthony then dished on his preparation before suiting up in a game for Portland. The team wanted him to join them in San Antonio, but he asked to have the weekend in order to go through a mini-camp at home consisting of two- and three-a-day practices to get ready.
The 10-time All-Star also touched on his respect for teammate Damian Lillard, which had been established long before Anthony even came to Portland:
He was one guy I’ve always respected, as a player but [also] as a person. Even though I didn’t know him, even before I got there, I already respected him. He was an honest, truthful guy. Humble guy, Very loyal. Even prior to me going this year, we’ve always had conversations, ‘Yo man, come to Portland.’ We always had dialogue.”
You can view Anthony’s entire conversation of Redick’s podcast below: