Carmelo Anthony Reportedly Will Start in Trail Blazers Debut; Damian Lillard out

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 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 start for the Portland Trail Blazers in his first NBA appearance in more than a year, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN.  

Spears reported the veteran forward will play about 20 minutes in Tuesday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans after officially signing with Portland earlier in the day.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts told reporters Anthony will likely start at power forward for Portland for the foreseeable future.

He could provide the Blazers with some additional offense as guard Damian Lillard is out with back spasms, per Casey Holdahl.

Anthony last played in an NBA game on Nov. 8, 2018, during his 10-game stint with the Houston Rockets. He averaged 13.4 points per contest during that stretch but was inactive for the rest of his time with the team.

The 10-time All-Star was then traded to and waived by the Chicago Bulls, and he remained unsigned until this week when he agreed to a non-guaranteed $2.15 million deal, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Anthony spoke about joining the Trail Blazers on his YouTube page:

"I always kept my eye on Portland," Anthony said (h/t NBA.com). "It just didn't work out at other times. But now it seems like a perfect opportunity. I just look at that team and say, 'This is what I can bring, this is where I can help.' It can only work if all parties see it the same way."

Portland had high expectations after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season, but the team is just 5-9 to start this year. 

Anthony, who averaged more than 20 points per game in each of his first 14 seasons, will hope he can provide a jolt to the underperforming squad.