Welcome back to the Carmelo Anthony trade saga where every week, there seems to be a new possible outcome for the New York Knicks star’s future.
On Monday, Portland Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard disclosed to Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated that Anthony “didn’t seem opposed” to joining the Oregon-based franchise.
Anthony’s status with the Knicks has remained unknown for most of the summer as both parties have seemingly toyed with every single idea under the sun.
With Phil Jackson still at the helm in June, Anthony’s representation approached the Knicks to seek a buyout of Anthony’s remaining two years, $54 million left on his contract.
Jackson was willing to pull the trigger. Knicks owner James Dolan was not. Within a few days, Jackson was out of New York and Steve Mills took over while hiring Scott Perry as his new general manager.
In early July, Anthony let it be known that he was willing to waive his no-trade clause for either the Houston Rockets or Cleveland Cavaliers. But after the Kyrie Irving drama that led to his departure, Melo took the Cavs off his list, leaving just the Rockets.
Unfortunately for Anthony, the Knicks and Rockets are all but impossible to match up for a trade.
In the meantime, Lillard and teammate C.J. McCollum began to lightly recruit Anthony to Portland, though their attempts fell upon deaf ears as the trade demands never changed.
“I didn’t want to press (Anthony),” Lillard told Spears. “I ain’t a big fan of doing all the extra recruiting and all that stuff. And I guess they call it tampering or whatever. It’s not against the rules for us to interact with each other. We’re all peers, we all play in the same league and everybody hints at playing with each other. ‘What do you think about this?’ ‘What do you think about that?’ All that matters is whether it got done or did not get done. Or hasn’t got done. It hasn’t gotten done. So, it is what it is.”
It would be understandable if Lillard showed some desperation in his pursuit of Anthony.
The Western Conference has grown stronger this offseason with the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers. Along with the San Antonio Spurs, the pursuit of the Golden State Warriors will be a difficult and exclusive endeavor.
Anthony’s acquisition would give the Blazers a solid lineup of Lillard, McCollum, Anthony and Jusuf Nurkic, though it would likely require a lot more to dethrone Golden State or give the Rockets a run for their money.
Still, Lillard will continue his campaign for Anthony.
“I’m not giving up on anything,” he said. “I just think I’ve done what I can do.”