Report: Carmelo Anthony Won't Make Trail Blazers Debut Monday vs. Rockets

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 16, 2019

Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony handles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony will not make his debut with the Portland Trail Blazers until Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans at the earliest, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

Anthony agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with the Blazers on Thursday, also per Wojnarowski.

Portland is scheduled to visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and the Houston Rockets on Monday to begin a six-game road trip. The Pels game is the third of the six-game stretch.

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Carmelo Anthony, according to a source, is expected to take his physical in New York this weekend before joining the Blazers in New Orleans for Tuesday’s game against the Pelicans.

The Blazers have lost six of their last seven games to drop to 4-8. The Western Conference finalists from one year ago are currently 13th in the Western Conference.

Portland has suffered significant injuries this calendar year. Notably, center Jusuf Nurkic is out with a broken leg suffered in March, and power forward Zach Collins slated to miss at least four months with a left shoulder injury, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

The Blazers need some help down low especially in light of Collins' recent injury, which is where Anthony comes into play at the power forward position.

The 35-year-old Anthony has not stepped foot on an NBA court since November 2018, when his 10-game stint with the Houston Rockets ended.

Houston eventually traded Anthony to the Chicago Bulls, who waived him on February 1.

The 2003 NCAA champion has averaged 24.0 points per game across 16 NBA seasons. He has made 10 All-Star games, garnered six All-NBA honors, won the 2012-13 scoring title and helped Team USA with three Olympic gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

There's no question that Anthony is one of the game's most decorated basketball players this century, but the question is how much he can contribute to the Blazers after one year off the floor in what will now be his 17th NBA season.

Anthony's production and efficiency took a sizable dip over his last two seasons when he averaged 15.9 points on 40.4 percent shooting. For context, he's a 44.9 percent shooter for his career.

Still, Anthony isn't going to be asked to carry the scoring load on the Blazers, a job that Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum currently hold as the team's one-two punch in the backcourt. He should be able to find open shots with defenses focusing attention on the two All-Star guards at the least.

Ultimately, the Blazers' offense has taken a nosedive year over year: Portland ranked fourth in offensive efficiency, per ESPN.com, but that number has slipped to 15th this season.

Given their shorthanded frontcourt plus the team's need to quickly get back on the winning track, the Anthony move is certainly understandable.

The forward should have a favorable matchup to transition into his new team and season, as the Pels are third-last in defensive efficiency and last in points allowed per game.