Damian Lillard has sky-high hopes for the Portland Trail Blazers in the event they trade for Carmelo Anthony.
Like, way-too-high hopes.
When commenting on what Blazers’ chances would be in the Western Conference with Melo on the roster, Lillard went as far as suggesting the reigning-champion Golden State Warriors would need “good luck” to get past Portland, per Joe Freeman of the Oregonian (h/t Drew Shiller of CSNBayArea.com):
“I can only imagine what it would be like having him iso’ing on one side, and C.J. in a corner, and me on the opposite wing and Nurk (Jusuf Nurkic) … I can only imagine how hard it would be to guard us when it’s already hard to guard us.
“We can compete with anybody in the West, but I think when you get to those teams like Golden State, if we happen to run into them in a playoff situation now — we getting in the paint, and if they want to help off someone like Melo … good luck.”
Draymond Green, for the record, saw these comments, and it appears he was fairly amused:
With all due respect to the Blazers, who remain a sneaky-good fit for Anthony, we’re rolling with Green here.
Portland is more than one Melo addition away from sniffing Golden State. And there’s no shame in that. The same could be said for basically the rest of the league.
Put Anthony on the Cleveland Cavaliers or Houston Rockets, and neither one of them enters a seven-game playoff set with the Warriors as prohibitive favorites. Golden State is head and shoulders above the rest of the league, and Anthony, 33, is on the decline.
He alone won’t close the gap for anyone—let alone a Blazers team that wrapped 2016-17 with a .500 record.