Carmelo Anthony is headed back to the NBA after a one-year sabbatical.
Anthony, 35, will sign a one-year non-guaranteed deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
He will join the Blazers (4-8) on their upcoming road trip beginning Saturday in San Antonio, per ESPN, and the team hopes he will provide offensive production in the frontcourt without gumming up its offense.
Anthony told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith in August he was ready to make a return.
“I’m in the gym every single day,” Anthony said.
“I have never seen him more excited to play basketball,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said by text on Friday morning. “And because of their injuries, this seems like a perfect fit.”
Anthony was ranked by Forbes in June as the 42nd highest-paid athlete at $34 million as of June 10. A 10-time NBA All-Star, he has three Olympic gold medals and an NCAA title at Syracuse. He has never won an NBA title, or even played in the NBA Finals.
Lance Thomas, Anthony’s former Knicks teammate, said at Nets Media Day Anthony deserved to play in the NBA.
“I think he deserves to end up on a team,” he said. “A guy of his caliber is someone who has always been a standup guy in the league. He’s given amazing basketball memories to the NBA, has affected almost every teammate he’s ever had in a positive way and always has a smile on his face. I think he does deserve to play on a team. I think it’s unfortunate what’s happening. But you’re not going to take the smile off his face even if you tried.”
Thomas, who had been playing pickup with Anthony, said he thinks everyone around the league was surprised that Anthony hadn’t found a new home as of training camp.
“I think the world is surprised,” he said. “I don’t know enough to speak on it. But I can speak on the character that Melo has, how hard he works, how great of a teammate he is. I think the world of him and I think that he does deserve a chance to lace them up again.”
Thomas said Anthony looked good in scrimmages.
“I think it’s the best his body looks,” he said. “He has the first step back. It looks like he’s having fun playing the game again. That’s all I really hope for him is that he’s happy playing the game and not worry about things he has no control over.”
The Rockets parted ways with Anthony in November 2018 and he played his final game with them on Nov. 8. Anthony played just 10 games for the Rockets after signing a one-year, $2.4 million deal during the offseason. He was waived by the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 1.
The third overall pick in the 2003 draft, Anthony has averaged 24 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists in a career that also included stints with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks.
Jalen Rose said in January he hopes Anthony plays again.
“He can still contribute, it’s just finding the right opportunity is tough because unless there’s a major injury, a contending team probably wouldn’t add him,” Rose told TMZSports then.
“Maybe an injury happens and he gets back in the league. But I hope so, I hope so. I don’t want him to end after 10 games in Houston. He deserves better for somebody going to the Hall of Fame.”