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Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum say Carmelo Anthony interested in joining Trail Blazers

Carmelo Anthony, Damian Lillard

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

AP

The Trail Blazers want to trade for Carmelo Anthony. Portland guard C.J. McCollum has even put on the public press:

[protected-iframe id="538e78b77939ddde7328190865e08de7-15932946-6766474" info="https://www.instagram.com/p/BWnlQ4DFE7H/?taken-by=3jmccollum&hl=en” ]

But Anthony has a no-trade clause, meaning the Trail Blazers must convince both him and the Knicks on a deal.

The Knicks seem ready to move on. What about Anthony? Would he approve Portland?

Jay Allen of Rip City Radio 620:

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian:

McCollum is publicity-oriented. It’s unsurprising to see him interject himself into this saga.

This is a new approach for Lillard, who’s not known as much of a recruiter. Perhaps, it speaks to the Trail Blazers’ dedication in pursuing Anthony. The star guard could go a long way in convincing Anthony that Portland is big-time enough for him.

Anthony clearly prefers to join the Rockets, but it seems they’re having trouble formulating a trade that appeases the Knicks and any third (or fourth) team(s). If Anthony can’t get to Houston, there are reasons he might prefer remaining in New York over going to Portland.

For now, he can maximize leverage on a trade to Houston by refusing to accept a trade elsewhere. The question is what happens if Anthony eventually believes a Rockets deal has completely fallen apart.

Maybe he’s actually interested in Portland. Maybe he just didn’t want to outright reject Lillard and McCollum even if he knows he would never go there. Maybe he’s just unsure.

At least the Trail Blazers make sense on paper for a trade. If the Knicks want to turn Anthony into smaller bad contracts for younger players, Portland has plenty of options – Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner and Meyers Leonard. The Trail Blazers could also aggregate Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and/or Ed Davis to match Anthony’s salary and provide New York with more value. There are enough potential permutations to believe there’s one viable for both teams.

But can the Trail Blazers get Anthony on board? That’s the bigger question. It sounds as if they’re trying.