When the Trail Blazers season ended in the Orlando Bubble following a 4-1 first round series loss to the Lakers, Carmelo Anthony expressed his desire to return to Portland next season. Melo even said he prays he’ll be back with the Blazers.
Along with his teammates and fans in Portland, Anthony’s former coach George Karl also believes Melo has found a good fit with the Trail Blazers.
After Anthony’s triumphant return to the NBA last season, and now as a free agent, there’s no doubt that other teams will have interest in the 36-year old.
But Coach Karl thinks Melo should stay put.
Karl joined SiriusXM NBA radio this week to talk more about the player he coached from 2005-10, which included Anthony’s only trip to the Conference Finals.
I think he fits in Portland. It seems like him and [coach] Terry [Stotts] have a connection and a communication level that I haven’t seen with Melo at a lot of his stops along the way in his career. And he fits with the team.
Karl not only knows Melo very well, he also knows Coach Stotts well. In fact, the two go way back.
Stotts started his coaching career with Karl.
He joined Karl's coaching staff as an assistant in the CBA with the Albany Patroons in 1990–91. Stotts then coached the CBA's Fort Wayne Fury for one season before taking a job on the Seattle SuperSonics coaching staff with Karl. And that wasn’t their last stop together. When Coch Karl went to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998, so did Stotts.
So if anyone understands a good player-coach relationship between Melo and Stotts it would be Coach Karl.
Plus, Karl posed this question:
Why try to figure it out someplace else when you got a good place, good team that’s close to being really good? I would recommend him going back to Portland.
With Anthony’s success including starting all 58 games played with the Blazers in 2019-20 while averaging 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds during the regular season, not to mention his strong relationship with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, it would be easy to see why a Melo return to Portland is in the cards.
Melo has said on multiple occasions that he believes he has found a home in Portland.
And Coach Karl and many others have seen just that.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with special guest Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan]: