It has been just over a week since Carmelo Anthony has officially been back in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers, which has received rave reactions from fans and his peers. Anthony has quickly demonstrated that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank to play at a high level through his first few games. L.A. Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard is the latest to chime in on the matter as he had some intriguing comments regarding the situation.
Carmelo Anthony’s long wait is over
Anthony endured a long absence from the NBA that lasted just over a year away from the game. That all ended after the Blazers made a move to bring on board the former All-Star forward last month.
The 35-year-old was in a situation that didn’t appear to have any end towards a team giving him a chance to get back into the league. Throughout the process, he continued to work out and stay ready physically while remaining firm with his desire to still play the game.
That opportunity presented itself with Portland looking to address a frontcourt need due to an injury to big man Zach Collins. It’s a move that many of his peers have voiced a great of admiration for Anthony getting another shot, which now includes Leonard offering his support.
Kawhi Leonard chimes in Carmelo Anthony’s NBA return
Since the Blazers signed Anthony, there has been nothing but an intense outpouring of support thrown in his direction.
Among those is the reigning NBA Finals MVP, who voiced after Sunday’s win over the Washington Wizards that he is not only happy for the 10-time All-Star but also believes that he was mistreated, according to Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints.
“I’m happy for him. He wanted to get back and play, he was able to get the opportunity, get a chance to go out there and pretty much be himself. I’m just happy for him that he was able to get back in the NBA. It was well-deserved…I don’t think he was treated the right way, how they left him out there being a future Hall of Famer. As you can see he can still run it up and down the floor. He’s still got a lot of basketball left, it’s just going to be a fun matchup for us and a competitive game.”
Anthony was out of the NBA for an entire year, despite being completely healthy and showing that he could still be a viable player at this stage of his career. It merely came down to him being in a situation with the Houston Rockets, where it wasn’t the right fit at that stage of his career.
Carmelo Anthony is proving it on the court
The opportunity with the Trail Blazers has given Anthony a new life in his NBA career. Many believed that he in the league was finished due to how things had wrapped up in Houston.
That further fueled the perception that Anthony wasn’t going to be willing to adjust to playing a smaller role or fit into a particular playing style to prolong his illustrious career. He’s now in a situation where the team is greatly depending on him to be that third scorer in the offense behind their dynamic backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
He has quickly proven that he can excel in that role as he’s earned the Western Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 22.3 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 57% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc while the Blazers held a 3-0 record. Ultimately, it’s a spot that he can certainly thrive in to prove that not only can he fit into the mix, but that he still has plenty left in his tank to play at a high level.