Carmelo Anthony on decision to join Trail Blazers: “My approach is totally different”

After the Portland Trail Blazers’ controversial decision to sign Carmelo Anthony, he offered some insight on what went down behind the scenes.

Carmelo Anthony finally shed some light on his decision to join the Portland Trail Blazers. Anthony is expected to debut for the Portland Trail Blazers sometime this week. Reports are indicating he might be with the team as early as Tuesday, November 19 versus the New Orleans Pelicans. 

In a video released on his YouTube channel, Melo explains briefly how the decision to join the Blazers came about last week:

All of this started on a Wednesday. I got the call Wednesday. Thought about it. Then Thursday – that Thursday was the commitment, right. It was, okay, I’m ready to do this. You guys, you know really want to make this happen. I’m open. Let’s really get serious about this. Let’s make something happen.

CJ and Dame have publicly campaigned to recruit Melo in the past. Fans have had mixed opinions in the past about adding Carmelo to the team. However, with the Trail Blazers off to a horrendous (5-9) start this season, most fans are open to anything at this point.  Anthony expressing his interest in playing for the Blazers is nothing new.

You know, I always kept my eye on Portland. It just didn’t work out at other times but now it seems like it’s a perfect opportunity!

I just look at that opportunity, that team and say look this is what I can bring to the team, this is where I can help. It will only work if all parties see it the same way.

Anthony is definitely getting an amazing opportunity as the Blazers are desperately looking for an answer to remain a playoff-worthy team in crowded West. I honestly hope that Terry Stotts and Carmelo can see eye to eye.

Stotts has been able to do a great job managing personalities that came with less than stellar reviews: Nurkic, Hood, and Whiteside.  A lot of the team’s culture and cohesion comes from Lillard and CJ’s leadership. Absorbing Carmelo into this locker room at such a critical point will be the most difficult test this leadership group has faced.

Carmelo on his part has been preparing himself both mentally, physically and emotionally for his upcoming stint with the Trail Blazers. He isn’t rushing to jump into the fold. Melo is taking a pragmatic approach. He wants to be ready for the long haul of the remaining NBA season when he joins the Blazers.

[…] they wanted me to come and get right into it. Let me just get three, four days of just like getting back into it mentally and emotionally. It’s a big difference in training while you waiting and training once you get the call to say okay we want to do this.

It was surprising but irrational to hear that a part of him was at peace with not being in the NBA actively.

I had you know almost detached myself from the game a little bit – just to get myself some sanity and not,  not think about it. But, once I got that call, the challenge was for me to just flip that back mentally.

Carmelo had been a household name to pure basketball fans for almost two decades. When your identity and life revolves around being an elite basketball player – it’s completely understandable for him not to want to obsess over playing in the NBA.

The past several days he has been working with NBA/WNBA Skills Coach Alex Bazzell. Carmelo has been working with Bazzell over the summer to stay in shape — which he appears to be in.

Further, Alex had the onus of boot-camping Melo over the past few days. His focus was prepping Anthony to adapt to the Blazer’s offensive schemes.

It was my job to take a look at: What actions they were running? Where they were going to use him? And then getting him back into you know game shape as quickly as we can.

Carmelo also talked about his relationship with CJ and that he has been in talks with Portland’s greatest recruiter: Damian Lillard.

You know me and Dame was you know, we’ve been talking for the past couple years. Just you know, off and on. Me and CJ has been playing in you know in my blackout runs for the past four years.

Earlier this week, I wrote that adding Carmelo is a desperation move. An addition such as this should have been luxury. It should be viewed as merely some depth relief. 

Instead, adding Melo already feels full of expectations. Every Blazers loss results in more hope that Carmelo might be the answer. Carmelo’s relationship with his past couple of teams and fan bases has not ended well. Carmelo claims to have learned from the past.

What happened before is the past – I can’t dwell on that. I learned from that! This happened at a point in time in my life – where I do have a lot of clarity and understanding of different situations and just life and you know my approach is totally different.

Adding Carmelo is a signing that is of low financial risk but of high risk in its ability to jeopardize the Blazer’s culture and cohesion. The Blazers’ front office, coaching staff and player leaders have worked hard to build a positive culture in Portland.

Carmelo has an amazing opportunity to revive his dead career and restore his legacy. If he plays well, it gives him options – he can stay and finish his career in Portland or explore his options elsewhere.  If Melo plays well it also provides the Blazers scoring from the Forward position – something they have craved for years.

I am eager to find out how his newfound clarity and understanding impacts his game on the court. Melo desperately needs to understand his strengths and his limitations. I might sound overly cautious about this union but I truly am rooting for this merger to succeed. We all might be rooting for Melo. Everyone loves a comeback story.

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Carmelo is expected to be active for Tuesday night’s game against the Pelicans, tune in to see if he can live up to his word and experience a bit of a career renaissance.

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