Even though LeBron James remained hopeful Carmelo Anthony would receive another opportunity to play in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers star acknowledged a lot of people started to be pessimistic about the 10-time All-Star's prospects.
Per USA Today's Mark Medina, James noted the length of time it took for Anthony to find a home made it natural to question if another team would come calling.
"I think everyone had doubt, including himself, probably," he said Friday. "As the time goes on and on and on, you see yourself getting further and further away from it. But I always hoped that he would get an opportunity."
As recently as Nov. 7, Anthony told reporters he was committed to playing in the NBA again:
James added there will "be some motivation now" for Anthony and that he "belongs in this league."
It's been more than a year since Anthony played in an NBA game. His last appearance came on Nov. 8, 2018, as a member of the Houston Rockets. He scored two points in 20 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Portland is looking to turn around its season and avoid falling out of playoff contention early. The team enters Friday last in the Northwest Division with a 4-8 record and is playing without Zach Collins (left shoulder) and Jusuf Nurkic (leg).