Trail Blazers Rumors

Carmelo Anthony Was Hoping For An Offer From The Lakers

Carmelo Anthony has revived his career with the Trail Blazers, but he told reporters in Los Angeles last night that he had been hoping to join his close friend LeBron James with the Lakers, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Anthony got a warm reception from the crowd during his first visit to L.A. since his 12-month exile from the league. There was speculation this summer that the Lakers might be the next team to give Anthony a chance.

“There were a lot of teams that I thought I was going to be on,” Anthony said. “As far as LeBron goes, it’s something we’ve talked about since we were in high school. It wasn’t in his power. … I would’ve never put him in that position because a lot of times it’s deeper than that, and I started understanding the business of basketball.”

The Clippers held Anthony to his worst game since he returned, limiting him to nine points on a 2-of-9 shooting night. Afterward, Paul George, who was Anthony’s teammate for one season in Oklahoma City, urged critics to back off and let Anthony show what he can still do.

“I’m not going to be happy with [the criticism], with how they tried to shoot him down when he first started,” George said. “I am not going to be happy now that he’s playing well and they want to be on his side. He is going to have a long season. Let him play. Let him hoop. Say what you want when he’s finished, but let him hoop. It’s great that he’s getting that recognition now. When it is all said and done — people, let him play and let him hoop. It’s tough regardless when he came back; he had been out over a year, so there’s going to be some ups and downs. But let Melo hoop.”

George is the latest in a series of high-profile players to speak out for Anthony. Teammate Kawhi Leonard said Sunday that he believes Anthony was treated unfairly and never should have been away from the league for so long.

“It means a lot,” Anthony said of the support from his peers. “But also, the real ones know what’s going on. It’s not them. I never had issues with any of my colleagues saying anything about me. It’s the narratives that surround the game of basketball, the opinions that everybody has. All of these cameras have their opinion. So it’s those things that come into play, which can easily allow somebody to get down on themselves and want to give up and want to not be motivated. I was against all of that. I stayed with it. I stayed motivated. I pushed myself.”

Execs View Blazers As Potential Trade Fit For Aldridge

Pau Gasol To Join Blazers’ Coaching Staff

After being waived last month by the Trail Blazers, Pau Gasol intends to join the team’s coaching staff, head coach Terry Stotts confirmed tonight to reporters, including Casey Holdahl (Twitter link). Gasol is currently in Spain, but when he returns, he’ll officially come aboard Stotts’ staff.

Gasol, who continues to rehab a foot injury, was released by the Blazers before appearing in a single game for the team. At the time of that move, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Portland and Gasol were working on a potential coaching role for the veteran big man.

Taking on a coaching role doesn’t necessarily mean Gasol has decided to retire as a player. However, between his foot issues and his age (39), the odds may be against an NBA comeback at this point. The six-time All-Star played 77 games for the Spurs in 2017/18, but was limited to 30 games last season due to injuries.

It’s not yet clear when Gasol will return from Spain, tweets Mark Medina of USA Today.

Carmelo Anthony Was Prepared To Retire Before Portland Offer Arrived

Carmelo Anthony had spent over a year without a basketball team before the Trail Blazers gave him a call. The 10-time All-Star had been preparing himself for the retirement up until that point, as he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (link via Nick Friedell of ESPN.com).

“I was preparin’ myself,” Anthony said of the idea of having played his last NBA game. “And I had prepared myself to kinda just walk away from the game — if the right situation didn’t come about.”

Still, Anthony always knew that he could still contribute in the league. He simply needed the right opportunity.

“So if I were just to go to a team and to a situation just to be on the team and it didn’t work out, it was gonna come back on me anyway. Like, the blame is gonna be on me anyway. So a situation like Portland, where I could just come in and just play my game and have a group of guys that really want me, and the organization that want me,” Anthony explained.

“There’s no better feelin’ than when you feel wanted. And I think that’s what kinda keeps me motivated and understandin’, like, this situation is — it is and was the best situation for me.”

Melo was named Western Conference player of the week on Monday. He’s averaging 17.7 points per game and Portland is 3-3 since Anthony arrived.

I feel good,” Anthony said. “Just because I’m 35 years old and I’m supposed to be, you know, the book says you’re supposed to be about to retire around this time? Like — like, no, I’ve always been against all odds. … I just had a year off. … I had a year off restin’ my body.

“The most important part about that is I rested my mind right. I got my mind right. And I don’t think people understand how strong that is. When you’re able to get your mind right, everything else flows.”

Heat Notes: Waiters, Jones, Whiteside, Winslow

Dion Waiters appears to have returned to the Heat in good standing after serving a 10-game suspension, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Waiters becomes eligible again in this afternoon’s game with the Nets, but coach Erik Spoelstra wouldn’t say when he expects to start using him again. Waiters hasn’t played yet this season, and Miami is off to a 13-5 start with plenty of depth at the wing spots.

Waiters has been suspended twice already this season, once for a preseason argument with Spoelstra over playing time and once for an incident on a team flight that reportedly involved a THC-infused gummy. Still, he seems to have the support of his teammates, many of whom spoke out to welcome him back.

“We talk about the next step, what’s coming now, how we can build from that point on,” said Udonis Haslem, who contacted Waiters several times while he was away from the team. “Those are the conversations that I have with him, and I express my support for him. It’s not a time to turn your back and have a beat-down session. It’s time to be there for your brother.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat may get another reinforcement with the return of Derrick Jones Jr., Jackson adds in the same story. Jones, who hasn’t played since Nov. 7 because of a strained hip, is listed as probable for today’s game.
  • The offseason trade that sent Hassan Whiteside to the Trail Blazers is working out for both teams, observes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Whiteside has given Portland a much-needed rim protector amid injuries to other centers and blocked 10 shots Friday night. He didn’t have a future in Miami because Heat management preferred Bam Adebayo and probably wouldn’t have re-signed Whiteside after his contract expires this summer. They also needed to clear cap room to complete the deal for Jimmy Butler.
  • Justise Winslow may eventually reclaim his starting role, but he has been effective in two games off the bench since returning from a concussion, Winderman notes in a separate story. It has helped that Winslow is joined on the second unit by two former starters in Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk. “He and Goran and KO, they already have a great chemistry, among the three of them,” Spoelstra said. “So that, those minutes with those guys, it’s almost like a bike, again. And I think that helps him find his rhythm, and he’ll continue to get better as we get more games.”

Carmelo Anthony’s Trainer Talks Adjustment To Current NBA

After the Trail Blazers inked Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed deal, his year-long absence from the NBA ended but it remained to be seen what he had left. The early results have been positive as Anthony has shown flashes of the ability that made him a likely Hall-of-Famer.

Anthony, 35, is averaging 17.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG through six games for Portland with the team going 3-3 during that stretch. The 10-time All-Star has had some strong performances, including a 25-point outing against the Bulls on Monday and 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting versus the Thunder on Wednesday.

It was a tumultuous journey for Anthony before his return, as his trainer Alex Bazzell detailed to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Bazzell spoke to Anthony’s in-game adjustments on both sides of the ball and the perception higher-ups had of his value versus the distraction he might be.

Check out some highlights:

Bazzell on Anthony changing his playing style:

“He’s gone 95% of his career where he’s been able to catch the ball, turn, face, have time. He’s never really been the guy that’s setting a ton of ball screens and popping and making quick decisions. So it’s new for him. But it’s something he worked extremely hard on. He understands. He’s not the type of guy who is bullheaded the way people want to portray him. He understands he has to adjust his game for the new style and he’s got to make some sacrifices to be on a team and contribute the way a team wants him to and he wants to.”

On his conversations with higher-ups about Anthony’s value:

“I had talked to a couple assistant GMs and GMs and the whole thing was that it wasn’t about his play. It wasn’t even about him personally. But it was about the media attention that was going to follow him, like the questions that were going to come every day: Is he happy? Is he getting enough shots? Is he good in the role he’s in? So a lot of teams that, not to his fault, they just thought it was too much of a media distraction to have to deal with early in the season. I think the whole mystique of ‘Melo hurt him.”

On how Anthony felt after his return to the NBA:

“We talked a little bit after the game. He’s actually pretty happy with how it went. There’s obviously a lot of emotion involved, a lot of expectations when you have so many people vouch on your behalf on social media and what’s been going on for the last year. You almost feel a need to live up to those expectations right off the bat. It’s just like anything else. All these dudes are human. They need time to really get acclimated, get comfortable.”

Carmelo: Blazers’ Stint Not “Farewell Tour”

Carmelo Anthony has made an impact since joining the Trail Blazers and he insists his latest return to the NBA isn’t a farewell tour, as he told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Anthony signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with Portland this month after starting power forward Zach Collins suffered a major shoulder injury. Anthony, 35, is averaging 16.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 1.8 APG in his four games with the Blazers. He scored 25 points in a win over Chicago on Monday.

Anthony’s stint with Houston last season lasted just 10 games. He and his representatives had been lobbying to get him back in the league this season before the Portland opportunity came along. He plans to play beyond this season, though he contemplated retiring when his phone didn’t ring.

“This ain’t a damn farewell tour,” Anthony told Charania. “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.”

Anthony said he knew that the Blazers’ interest was serious when some of their players contacted him, including star Damian Lillard.

“It really wasn’t any conversations. I was continuing to go on with life and hanging with my (family) and doing my other business ventures. Then Dame called me. CJ (McCollum) called me. Zach called me,” he said. “Everybody, a lot of people texted me and called me. But it had to be something that I felt comfortable with and that they felt comfortable with. We got on the phone, got comfortable and went from there.”

Anthony said his stint with the Blazers will only get better with time.

“I’ve had (four) games with these guys. We haven’t had no practices yet, no time to adjust, just straight on-court basketball and going off of talent and skill,” he said. “I’m just walking in the gym and thrown into the fire. Until we have time to practice, get in the gym and get together and get back in Portland, nothing is going to be determined for us.”

Northwest Notes: Anthony, Teague, Nader, Thunder

Monday marked Carmelo Anthony‘s best game since returning to the NBA, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Anthony led all scorers with 25 points in 31 minutes as the Trail Blazers won in Chicago. He got a nice reception from Bulls fans and drew accolades from players who are happy to see him back in the league.

“I always advocated for him to be in the NBA,” Zach LaVine said. “… He’s better than a lot of people in the NBA, and he’s still getting it done. I think it was just bigger than that, and I’m glad to see him back here. Just not tonight.”

The performance raised questions about whether the Bulls should have given Anthony an opportunity when they had the chance. After the Rockets exiled him last season, they shipped him to Chicago in January in a cost-saving move. The Bulls waived him 10 days later. Anthony might have been able to revive his career sooner in the Windy City, but as he said after last night’s game, “They didn’t ask.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Jeff Teague‘s acceptance of a bench role in Minnesota is a rare move for a player in the final year of his contract, notes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Teague met with coach Ryan Saunders over the weekend before the change was finalized, sources tell Krawczynski. Rookie Jarrett Culver started alongside Andrew Wiggins last night and helped the Timberwolves win in Atlanta. Wiggins has taken on more of the playmaking duties this year, leaving Teague without a defined role in the offense. With a $19MM expiring contract, Teague may draw some interest on the trade market before the February 7 deadline.
  • Abdel Nader can expect more playing time for the Thunder with Hamidou Diallo sidelined with an elbow injury, states Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The third-year guard lives 15 minutes away from the team’s practice facility and sometimes works on his game until 3 a.m. “I’m a little bit crazy when it comes to the work I’ve gotta put in,” Nader said. “I wanna make sure my game feels tight — my shot, my handle, everything. That’s how I feel like I get better.”
  • Paul George and Russell Westbrook, who were the Thunder’s stars last year, had their first meeting of the season Friday when the Clippers hosted the Rockets and both have landed in better situations, contends Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Danilo Gallinari, Thunder, 31, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $64.7MM deal in 2017
Gallinari’s biggest issue has been staying out of the trainer’s room. His 68 regular-season appearances with the Clippers last season was his most since the 2012/13 season. But when he’s healthy, he can fill it up. He’s averaging 19.1 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 41.3 percent from deep. When he gets to the free throw line, he’s money (at least 90 percent since 2016/17). At 31, Gallinari still has a few more good years left and will get a hefty long-term offer next summer.

Mason Plumlee, Nuggets, 29, C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $41MM deal in 2017
Plumlee doesn’t stretch defenses like a majority of big men these days but he does enough to stay on the court. He’s the team’s fourth-leading rebounder despite averaging 16.6 MPG. He’s also adept at finding teammates (2.3 APG). Plumlee’s role figures to diminish if 2018 first-round Michael Porter Jr. starts to make a bigger impact but for now, Plumlee has a steady second-unit role on a contender. However, his annual salary will take a big dip next summer.

Jordan Bell, Timberwolves, 24, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.62MM deal in 2019
The Timberwolves can make Bell a restricted free agent by extending a $2.0MM qualifying offer in June. Thus far, Bell hasn’t done anything to make them want to keep the former Warriors big man around for another season. He’s been glued to the bench through the first month of this season, playing a total of eight minutes since November 4th. Noah Vonleh and Gorgui Dieng are ahead of him in the rotation off the bench, so Bell’s role won’t expand unless injuries strike.

Kent Bazemore, Trail Blazers, 30, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $70MM deal in 2016
Bazemore was acquired from the Hawks in exchange for another veteran swingman, Evan Turner. The trade has been a lose-lose situation for both teams. Neither has made an impact on their current teams. Bazemore is averaging single digits for the first time since the 2014/15 season despite steady playing time (23.6 MPG). He’s shooting 34.6 percent from the field and his PER is 8.7. That’s not exactly the way Bazemore wanted his walk year to unfold. He’ll be settling for a sizable pay cut next summer.

Jeff Green, Jazz, 33, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019
Green is the quintessential journeyman, seemingly popping up on a different team every season. Normally, he puts up solid numbers wherever he lands. That hasn’t the case through the first 14 games this season. Green has been in a shooting slump, making just 33 percent of his attempts. He shot over 47 percent for Cleveland and Washington the past two seasons, so a breakout might be imminent. If not, Green’s rotation spot could be in jeopardy when Ed Davis‘ fractured leg heals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

O'Connor: Could Blazers Be Kevin Love Suitor?

Over at The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor tries to identify a few teams that might match up with the Cavaliers in a Love trade, writing that rival team executives believe GM Koby Altman is “just posturing” when he insists Cleveland has zero interest in moving the five-time All-Star. However, O’Connor has a tough time finding ideal fits, listing the Kings, Spurs, Heat, Trail Blazers, and Rockets as some teams that might work in theory.