Carmelo Anthony Blasts Idea of Retirement: 'This Ain't a Damn Farewell Tour'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2019

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 25: Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers smiles during the game against the Chicago Bulls on November 25, 2019 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Carmelo Anthony reiterated he doesn't intend for the 2019-20 season to be his NBA swan song.

Anthony told The Athletic's Shams Charania he didn't consider his move to the Portland Trail Blazers part of a long goodbye to the league:

"This ain't a damn farewell tour. My love for the game don't stop. I don't know where this 'farewell tour' thing came from. I've never talked about a farewell tour. I know what I can do and I believe in myself. When a farewell tour comes, it comes. That's not something I think about. I'm not thinking about retiring right now. I had [thought about it] during this past stretch over the summer. But ain't no retiring in my mind. I believe in what I have left."

Anthony's trainer, Chris Brickley, said in July the 10-time All-Star was hopeful of getting one more shot in the NBA so he could have a last go-round similar to Dwyane Wade's and Kobe Bryant's final seasons.

Anthony went on First Take shortly thereafter to refute the notion and told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith he thought he had plenty left in the tank (at the 4:25 mark):

Anthony, who was unsigned after the Chicago Bulls waived him in February, told Charania he reached out to Wade and LeBron James but didn't ask either player for help in getting him a contract with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers:

"As far as friendships, I would never put business along with friendships. I would never do that. I would never reach out to a friend and say, 'I need this. Can you do this for me?' when it pertains to a situation that may not be in their control. It was frustrating being in my position, but I just decided: control what you can control.

"I got close friends on a lot of teams that I would never reach out to for a favor. It's just not who I am."

The Blazers gave him his long-awaited shot Nov. 19, signing him to a one-year, $2.2 million non-guaranteed deal. Anthony said Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were among the Blazers he talked to after the team expressed interest:

"I got the call saying, 'Portland is interested, what are you thinking?' I just said, 'Look, I've been in this situation before. Just tell me when it's something we can really make happen. Tell me when it's real.'

"It really wasn't any conversations. I was continuing to go on with life and hanging with my fam and doing my other business ventures. Then Dame called me. CJ called me. Zach called me. Everybody, a lot of people texted me and called me. But it had to be something that I felt comfortable with and that they felt comfortable with. We got on the phone, got comfortable and went from there."

He didn't get off to a great start, averaging 13.0 points while shooting 34.1 percent in his first three games. On Monday, however, Anthony scored a game-high 25 points as Portland beat the Chicago Bulls 117-94.

Depth—wing depth in particular—was a clear problem for the Blazers entering the year. They traded Maurice Harkless to the Los Angeles Clippers in the deal that landed them Hassan Whiteside, and Al-Farouq Aminu signed with the Orlando Magic.

Signing Mario Hezonja didn't really address the problem, and then Zach Collins underwent surgery on his left shoulder, which put further strain on a frontcourt that's already without Jusuf Nurkic as he continues his recovery from compound tibia and fibula fractures.

Charania wrote that some inside the league expected Portland to trade for Danilo Gallinari or Kevin Love but that the team needed more immediate help amid a bad start (the Blazers were 5-9 without Anthony and are now 6-12).

While it didn't definitively silence the skeptics, Anthony's performance Monday showed he might be a valuable scorer on a team with championship ambitions and give the Blazers something they sorely lacked.