Carmelo Anthony has been activated by the Portland Trail Blazers and will start at power forward in Tuesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans and could be in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future, according to coach Terry Stotts.
When asked if Anthony was going to start as the team’s starting power forward after Tuesday’s game, Stotts said, “I don’t see why not.”
Anthony is expected to play 20 minutes, a source told ESPN’s Marc Spears.
“This, from our standpoint, is a good fit for us,” Stotts said pregame. “He fills a need, but for him… obviously he’s been out of the league for a while and I’m sure he’s glad to be back in.”
Anthony, who has not played since Nov. 8, 2018, will start alongside Hassan Whiteside, Rodney Hood, CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons with Damian Lillard out with a back injury. It’s Anthony’s first start since Oct. 30, 2018 when he was with the Rockets. That night, Houston played Anthony’s new team, the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stotts said Anthony “looked good at the gym this morning” during Portland’s shootaround on Tuesday morning. However, Stotts added that getting back in NBA shape will be the biggest transition for Anthony, who hasn’t played in an NBA game in 376 days.
Anthony, 35, will wear jersey No. 00. The 10-time All-Star has not played since Nov. 8, 2018, with the Houston Rockets.
“Carmelo is an established star in this league that will provide a respected presence in our locker room and a skill set at a position of need on the floor,” Blazers president Neil Olshey said.
Anthony will have a base salary of $2.159 million.
The contract will become fully guaranteed if Anthony is not waived by 5 p.m. on Jan. 7.
Speaking on his YouTube channel Monday night, Anthony said, “The last year and a half has been an emotional roller coaster.
“I’ve always kept my eye on Portland. It just didn’t work out other times, but now it seems like it’s a perfect opportunity.”
Anthony said he got the call from the Blazers on Wednesday and committed on Thursday.
“Me and Dame [Lillard], we’ve been talking for the past couple years … off and on,” he said. “Me and CJ [McCollum] have been playing in my Black Ops runs for the past four years.
“I just look at the opportunity and say, ‘This is what I can bring to the team. This is where I can help.’ It will only work if all parties see it the same way.”
Anthony has career averages of 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.02 steals in 1,064 games over 16 seasons with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston.
Among active players with at least 200 games played, Anthony ranks fourth in career points per game, and he has the second-most career points among active players, trailing only LeBron James.
Power forward was the position where the Blazers were most vulnerable, and a shoulder injury to Zach Collins amplified the void there.
Anthony could fit in well with the Blazers, who have struggled to get production from their forwards this season.
Anthony hasn’t played since a 10-game run with the Rockets that ended early in the 2018-19 season.
“What happened before is the past,” Anthony said. “I can’t dwell on that. I learned from that. This happened at a point and time in my life where I do have a lot of clarity and understanding of different situations and just life, and my approach is totally different.”