This week, the Trail Blazers made up their mind and fully guaranteed Carmelo Anthony's contract for the remainder of the season.
Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey told NBCSNW's Diwght Jaynes signing Melo for the rest of the season was “a no brainer.”
Between Melo’s production on the court and his presence in the locker room, amending the contract in advance of the Jan. 7th guarantee date was a no-brainer. This is the kind of gesture we want players to become accustomed to when they buy into and contribute to our culture. -- Neil Olshey
Knowing Melo isn’t going anywhere also means Melo isn’t going to be forced out of the starting lineup once the Trail Blazers get Zach Collins back.
Starting was a prerequiste to Melo joining the Blazers in the first place.
Collins isn’t expected to be re-evaluated until March after he underwent successful surgery to repair his left labrum last month.
The 7-footer said on Wednesday of this week that he “is progressing” and he’s happy to not have to wear his sling anymore.
Even though Collins played in just three games this season for the Blazers where he started at power forward, he made his bread and butter as a consistent, go-to, energy off the bench type of player.
People remember Collins was a one-and-done player at Gonzaga. But, some don’t remember he came off the bench for Mark Few.
Sure, Collins would like to be inserted back into the starting lineup when he’s healthy enough, but not only because of Melo will Collins be coming off the bench, but it’s smart to do so, too.
If and when Collins comes back this season, he is going to undoubtedly be working through a minutes restriction to work himself back in.
Plus, looking at this season the Blazers’ bench could use a spark and yes, Collins is known for his defensive prowess, but this is a kid who can stretch the floor and bring some much needed scoring when called upon. And that's what Portland’s second unit could use this season.
A lot of the talk around Rip City has been -- just make it to March when Collins and Jusuf Nurkic are back on the court.
Here’s the thing: There’s no guarantee Collins or Nurkic will be back on the court in March. Things are point that way. The only guarantee right now is Melo will remain in Portland.