Look at it this way, Trail Blazer fans – what does your team have to lose by signing Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed contract?
More games? Well, if Portland doesn’t solve its power-forward problems, that’s going to happen, anyway.
And spare me the hand-wringing about Anthony’s defense. There wasn’t going to be some sort of miracle move that was going to transform this team into a rabid pack of guard dogs at the defensive end of the floor.
The Trail Blazers plan to sign Anthony – it hasn’t happened yet because there are logistics, including a physical, that need to be taken care of before he can actually sign – to that non-guaranteed contract. That means if something good doesn’t happen, he can be sent down the road with no great financial loss.
Think of him as a "rent-to-own."
But let’s keep it real about the Trail Blazers right now: the loss of Zach Collins has left a gaping hole at the power forward spot. And at the same time, Portland is struggling to score. Frankly, there is little chance before the return of Jusuf Nurkic that this team is going to somehow figure out a way to consistently hold a team to fewer points than it is scoring. So why not try Carmelo Anthony? Why not try to put enough points on the board that the defense doesn't have to be so tight?
Half the league is playing that way in this era.
And really, I have no idea how well he can do as an offensive player after getting into just 10 games last season. But I know this – opponents are loading up against Damian Lillard more frequently and he needs help. Lillard has always been a big proponent of signing Anthony and famously tried to recruit him to Portland when he was a free agent. And the 10-time all-star will be able to play with composure in clutch situations and attack mismatches when they present themselves late in games.
Anthony has always been popular with his teammates and will bring a presence to the locker room that might need a little shaking up.
It might not have made any sense to bring him in earlier, when it was believed the team was deep on its frontline. You wouldn’t want to bring him in just to have him sit on the bench. But now? If he has anything left, he’s probably going to get as many minutes as his 35-year-old body can handle. This is a player who has averaged 24 points per game during his career.
And when Dame is getting blitzed on pick-and-rolls or being hounded by a box-and-one defense, I have a feeling Carmelo Anthony will at least be a credible option that teams need to worry about late in games.
If not… at least the franchise made an effort. And wasn’t afraid to take the gamble.