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May 28, 2020, 6:25:00 AM

Return from Exile: Carmelo Anthony’s Journey

After being released by the Houston Rockets, Carmelo Anthony was left without a team for a year. He only came back because of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Anthony is one of this generation’s best players. He has fallen from the great heights that he reached during his time with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks. After being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017, Anthony regressed from his spectacular form.

This continued through his time with the Rockets which led to many pundits branding him as a ‘has-been’. This led him to miss the rest of the 2018-2019 season without a team. It was just in the middle of the 2019-2020 season that the Portland Trail Blazers saw Anthony as the solution to their depth problem.

Portland has been significantly affected by the injury bug this season. They have lost three starters in the last year with significant injuries. These players are Jusuf Nurkić who suffered a broken leg, Zach Collins who separated his shoulder and Rodney Hood who ruptured his Achilles tendon.

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Portland, as expected, stumbled out of the gate because of these injuries. They are also dealing with a massive blow to their lineup because their two main defenders in Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu left the team in the offseason.

Because of their rotational problems, they had no choice but to sign Carmelo Anthony from free-agency on a non-guaranteed contract. It might have been a desperate move, but it has been great for both Anthony and the Blazers. Anthony has managed to somehow return to his old scoring ways but not to the extent that it is All-Star numbers. He has been a consistently good performer for the Blazers, which is the only thing that Portland needs from him.

Thankfully, Damian Lillard was there for his team to lead them through the dark times. Lillard has been spectacular this entire season, managing to average 28.7 points and 7.8 assists per game. He also had a historic run in January where he averaged 48.5 points per game in a six-game stretch.

Read about Damian Lillard’s underrated superstar career

Anthony has averaged 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds per game this season. It is a far cry from his all-star seasons but it is safe to say that Anthony is not that guy anymore. He has accepted his role as a role player in Portland.

He has shown his appreciation for Portland and their decision to sign him to a contract. Anthony said, ‘I think the biggest part of it was I had to be right mentally, I had to be right emotionally and spiritually. What I always tell people now is Portland came at a pivotal time in my life and my career. I needed Portland at this point in time, what I was looking for as far as on the court and off the court. I needed it, I needed the serenity of being in Portland, I need the space, I needed this me time to figure out me at the end of the day and to get my mind right and to focus on my body and emotionally’.

It looks like Anthony will also re-sign with the Blazers. It is nice to see both the team and the player appreciating each other. The best thing about this is that fans still get to see Anthony doing what he loves to do.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: PA