Melo To The Blazers?
The Portland Trail Blazers made the postseason as the eighth seed in the Western Conference with a record of 41–41 despite a slew of unfortunate injuries — with perhaps Center Jusuf Nurkic’s leg fracture being the most devastating.
Nonetheless, the guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum carried the team in the second half, helping them go 17–8 in their final 25 games after initially holding a record of 24–33. Although they were trounced by the Warriors in a four-game sweep, the fact they even made it to the dance at all considering the adversity they faced is definitely admirable.
The Trailblazers are a few pieces away from turning a playoff appearance into a playoff run. With that said, could Portland use Carmelo Anthony? In looking at their roster, forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless emerge as the most tradeable. Aminu has two years and $14 million remaining on his deal and Harkless’ four-year $42 million deal isn’t by any means an inconvenient cap hit.
A deal that sends Melo to Rose City in exchange for either forward — if not both — (depending on whether or not New York sends another player in the deal) is one that’s worth making considering there’s practically no financial consequences in the short or long term for New York.
If New York ever had the consent of Carmelo to make this deal, Anthony would join a lineup that already features a killer guard tandem in the aforementioned Lillard and McCollum and a versatile big man in Nurkic, while New York can acquire decent role players and finally begin its full-on rebuild all while still managing to protect their precious cap space. Aminu — if dealt — would perhaps be the more prominent addition considering his excellent defense.
Portland on the other hand would not only benefit from Carmelo’s scoring ability but also his rather underrated defense. Say what you will about Carmelo’s defensive deficiencies, opponents only shot 45% overall against him this year, while also only shooting 36% from beyond the arc. Melo may not be the greatest defender, but when gives full effort, he’s shown he has the knack to lock his opponents down.
It’s all about motivation with Carmelo Anthony and given who his teammates would be if he was dealt to Portland, why wouldn’t he be motivated? In short — Melo doesn’t just fit Portland — he’s perfect for them.