Carmelo returning to the Big Apple would align with the paper reporting "several league sources believed [Melo] preferred to end his career in New York" when the NBA season was suspended on March 11. But after the Blazers performance inside the bubble, that appears to no longer be the case.
Anthony even went as far as to tell reporters following a season-ending loss in Game 5 to the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday that he would love to return to Rip City next season.
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I pray that it can be Portland. Honestly, I think that I found a home in Portland. I got comfortable with the organization. I got comfortable with the guys on the team. They got comfortable with me. At this point in my career, I do think that's the best fit for me... I really hope it can be Portland at the end of the day. -- Carmelo Anthony
Damian Lillard seconded that thought from Melo from his home in Portland.
Meanwhile, CJ McCollum told reporters he would love for Melo to return: "If it was up to me, I'd love to play with him for the rest of his career. I guess that's to be determined."
Head coach Terry Stotts added that he was "honored to have been able to coach him."
"The fact that Melo came and played for the Blazers was special," Stotts said. "What he meant to the team and the way he conducted himself, the way he played. Obviously in the bubble he made some big shots and got us into the playoffs. So I feel honored to have been able to coach him. He's a Hall of Fame player and he's a Hall of Fame guy."
Anthony was out of the league to begin the 2019-20 season but following an injury to starting power forward Zach Collins and a sluggish 3-8 start to the season, the Trail Blazers signed him to a veteran's minimum contract to start at the four.
Melo exceeded all expectations averaging 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds on 38.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Heading into the bubble, Melo slimmed down to become 'Skinny Melo' and moved back to the small forward position in the Blazers starting lineup where he excelled as the Blazers third scoring option behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum
Speaking of the former, Melo called Lillard "the top guy [he's] played with."
Dame's at the top for me. I've never played with someone who lifted his team on the court with his play and as a leader. He genuinely cares for his teammates. What he's been able to do is amazing. He's the top guy I've played with. -- Anthony told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports!
This upcoming offseason, the Blazers will have non-Bird rights on Carmelo Anthony meaning they can pay him 125% of his 2019-20 season salary, or re-sign him using cap space, the bi-annual exception or the mid-level exception.
Report: Carmelo Anthony on the 'radar' of New York Knicks in free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest