Carmelo Anthony would never waive his no-trade clause to play for anyone other than the Cleveland Cavaliers or Houston Rockets.
Or would he?
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum seem think Anthony is open to playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, who have entered, unofficially, the now-anemic Melo sweepstakes.
Both stars have copped to recruiting the All-Star forward, and McCollum specifically believes their pitch resonated, per Joe Freeman of the Oregonian:
CJ McCollum on Carmelo Anthony's reaction to his pitch for Blazers: "I think he's interested."
— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) July 19, 2017
Lillard, meanwhile, classified the trade as a “real possibility,” per Rip City Radio’s Jay Allen:
— Jay Allen (@PDXjay) July 19, 2017
This is all pretty surreal to hear. Players aren’t typically this open about potential trade targets. It’s also bizarre that the Blazers, initially considered a potential third-party in a trade between the Rockets and New York Knicks, have somehow wedged their way into the conversation for the main prize.
Most don’t think Anthony will ultimately green light a move to the Blazers. He would rather play with Chris Paul in Houston, or LeBron James in Cleveland. And yet, things are really bad with the Knicks. They would undoubtedly be better with the Blazers. Portland doesn’t offer the same defensive safety nets Houston or Cleveland do, but the combination of McCollum and Lillard would help unlock some version of Olympics Melo everyone has been dying to see at the NBA level for years.
If the Knicks truly aren’t biting on whatever the Rockets and Cavaliers are offering, the Blazers have to at least somewhat appeal to Carmelo Anthony as a viable contingency plan—or rather, they should.