Carmelo Anthony Didn't Travel with Blazers to LA Due to Health, Safety Protocols

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, left, shoots as Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic, right, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. The Jazz defeated the Trail Blazers 120-100. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)
Steve Dipaola/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers announced Sunday that veteran forward Carmelo Anthony did not travel with the team to Los Angeles for Monday's matchup with the Lakers because of "health and safety protocols."

It is unclear if Anthony will be available to play, however, as he was not officially ruled out by the team.

Anthony clearly planned on playing as of Sunday afternoon based on this Twitter post:

The 36-year-old has averaged 10.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 22.5 minutes across Portland's first two games, coming off the bench behind the starting group of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Derrick Jones Jr., Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic.

It's a new role for Anthony, who has largely been a starter in his excellent career. But the 10-time All-Star said it was a role that made sense on this iteration of the Blazers.

"It's what works for this team, what we need for this team," he told reporters in early December. "It's not if I should be starting or not. I don't think that's the question, I don't think anybody would question [that]. I definitely don't question that. But it's just what's the best situation for the team and make it work for all parties."

Anthony knew he would be coming off the bench if he re-signed in Portland this offseason, a situation he discussed with general manager Neil Olshey, head coach Terry Stotts and both Lillard and McCollum:

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"I had to swallow that pill. I had to be really honest and transparent with the team and organization. And also with Dame and CJ. We had multiple conversations leading up to me coming back here. Those conversations were very honest from both sides. I was very comfortable and familiar with this situation, so I would rather do that here knowing this team and the players still respect me from a different level. They let me know I still would be a major part of what happens with this team."

Thus far, Anthony has essentially operated as the team's sixth man, with the most minutes among the reserves for the 1-1 Blazers. Monday's game versus the Lakers tips off at 10 p.m. ET.