Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the background details Friday and provided comments from Anthony about his extended stay on the free-agent market before signing with the Portland Trail Blazers this week:
"Honestly, I think it was more of, not intimidation, but it was more so teams not wanting to put themselves in that situation of having to deal with what role I was going to accept and questioning if I was going to accept my role and the media [attention] that's behind it all. Just everything that comes along with bringing me in. Nobody knew where I was at, as far as what I was thinking. I think it was more so of everything else outside of basketball. I don't think anybody thought, 'Oh, he can't play anymore. He can't do this.' It was everything that had to do with outside of basketball."
There has been speculation about James and Anthony playing alongside each other on a consistent basis as two of the top three picks in the 2003 draft have bounced around the NBA.
LeBron has made stops with three teams, including two stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Blazers marked Melo's fifth different organization. The fact they haven't linked up despite James' immense power wherever he goes raised questions about why none of his squads featured Anthony.
Haynes' report seemingly quashes any rumors about the Lakers cornerstone secretly not wanting his longtime friend on the roster.
Portland is a better fit on a paper than L.A. for Anthony as he attempts to prove he can still make a high-end impact in the NBA. The Lakers have several players competing for minutes on the wing, while the Blazers needed someone to take some offensive pressure off Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum after a slow start.
Melo is averaging 14 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists across his first two appearances, both Portland losses. He's shooting just 34.5 percent from the field, however, despite knocking down five of his eight attempts from three-point range (62.5 percent).
The lack of efficiency was a key reason he remained on the open market for so long. He's past the point in his career where he's going to operate as a team's go-to scoring option, and he's been unable to show he can make a positive impact in a secondary role since he's a lackluster defender.
It's too early to make any definitive judgments about the Blazers' decision to sign Anthony—they needed to find a spark after opening the campaign 5-9—but the early returns suggest they might run into the same problems with the 10-time All-Star as the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder did.
Portland will attempt to turn things around starting Saturday night against the Cavs.