Carmelo Anthony Thanks Blazers in Instagram Post After Signing Lakers Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 4, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Friday, April 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

Carmelo Anthony thanked the Portland Trail Blazers and their fans in an Instagram post Wednesday after signing with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent.

"Portland, all I can say is thank you," Anthony wrote. "Thank you for letting me love the game of basketball again. Thank you for welcoming me into your community, and supporting me both on the court and in your city. These two years were some of the most important ones of my career, and for that I'll always be grateful."

Anthony revitalized his career over the past two seasons as Portland.

The 37-year-old Syracuse product became accustomed to serving as a team's top offensive option across his first 14 seasons split between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. He was the NBA's scoring champion with the Knicks during the 2012-13 seasons.

He initially struggled with the transition into a role player across stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, though. His time with the Rockets last just 10 games.

Anthony finally found his stride as a secondary scorer in Portland while working as a complement to the star guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

The 10-time All-Star averaged 14.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists across 127 games (61 starts) for the Blazers. He also knocked down 1.7 threes per game while shooting 39.9 percent from beyond the arc.

In December, the New York City native explained he had to "swallow that pill" to accept his new role in the NBA, which took some time.

"This is new for me," Anthony said. "If I sit here and say the thought of that wasn't hard or difficult to hear and take and let that play with your pride and your ego, yes it does. Especially coming from somebody like myself. But I had to take a deep breath and figure it out."

His ability to make an impact as an outside shooter in a smaller role made him an ideal target for the Lakers, who needed to surround the superstar trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook with players who can hit threes consistently.

Anthony will share those duties with Wayne Ellington, Kendrick Nunn, Kent Bazemore and Malik Monk, who've also joined L.A. as part of the team's offseason roster overhaul.

If the three-time Olympic gold medalist goes on to win a championship with the Lakers, it will be his transformation with the Blazers that made it possible.