After a full year of uncertainty about his NBA future, Carmelo Anthony returned to basketball last week as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers have struggled to stay afloat in the first few weeks of the season thanks to a rash of injuries and difficulties integrating the players they acquired in the offseason.
The result has been a 6-12 start that has a lot of folks around Portland ready to push the panic button. The hope was that Anthony could come in a give them a much-needed jolt, in however limited capacity. As expected, he’s had his ups and downs through his first few games as he gets his legs back.
But Anthony found his rhythm on Monday night in a tough win over the Bulls, finishing with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds on an efficient 10-for-20 shooting, including 4-for-7 from downtown. After the game, Anthony bristled at the notion that we might be witnessing his final days in the league.
“This ain’t a damn farewell tour,” Anthony said. “My love for the game don’t stop. I don’t know where this ‘farewell tour’ thing came from. I’ve never talked about a farewell tour. I know what I can do and I believe in myself. When a farewell tour comes, it comes. That’s not something I think about. I’m not thinking about retiring right now. I had (thought about it) during this past stretch over the summer. But ain’t no retiring in my mind. I believe in what I have left.”
Despite his breakout performance, Anthony is still on a non-guaranteed contract that will expire on Jan. 7 if the Blazers choose not to keep him on. Either way, it’s an opportunity to prove to the league he still belongs and can be a reliable contributor, whether that’s in Portland or elsewhere.
(Via The Athletic)