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Carmelo Anthony, who has not played in the N.B.A. since November 2018, officially joined the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.
Anthony signed a one-year, veteran minimum contract, according to a person with knowledge of the deal who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. If Anthony is on Portland’s roster beyond Jan. 7, his $2,564,753 salary for 2019-20 becomes guaranteed.
He is expected to make his Blazers debut on Tuesday night in New Orleans, wearing the jersey No. 00. Anthony wore No. 15 with the Denver Nuggets and No. 7 for the Knicks, Thunder and 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,” Neil Olshey, Portland’s president of basketball operations, said in a statement.
The Blazers, coming off a trip to the Western Conference finals last season, are a disappointing 5-9 and have turned to Anthony, 10 times an N.B.A. All-Star, to try to add scoring punch to a depleted frontcourt. Zach Collins (shoulder) and Jusuf Nurkic (leg) are out with long-term injuries.
Anthony, 35, has been looking for a job to resurrect his N.B.A. career for more than a year. The Rockets used him in only 10 games last season before essentially banishing him from the team until they could trade him to Chicago in January, having decided that his game was a poor fit. The Bulls released Anthony after the Jan. 22 trade without even bringing him to Chicago.
“The last year and a half has just been like an emotional roller-coaster,” Anthony said in a YouTube video.
Portland’s star guards, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, lobbied Anthony to push for a trade from the Knicks to the Blazers in the summer of 2017, but Anthony later told The New York Times that he considered a move to the Pacific Northwest to be too far away from his family. Anthony opted instead to waive his Knicks no-trade clause to facilitate a trade to Oklahoma City, then spent one season with the Thunder before they dealt him to the Rockets.
“I always kept my eye on Portland,” Anthony said in the video. “It just didn’t work out at other times. Now it seems like a perfect opportunity.”
Anthony won the N.B.A. scoring title in 2012-13 by averaging 28.7 points per game. That was the last season that the Knicks made the playoffs.
In recent years, though, Anthony’s defensive deficiencies and offensive limitations raised fears that he would not get another chance in the league after his doomed stint as a Rocket. He is considered much more effective as a scorer when used in isolation plays rather than as a catch-and-shoot option on the perimeter as most teams prefer in the modern game, but the Blazers do use plenty of isolation schemes.
“It will only work if all parties see it the same way,” Anthony said.
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers expressed support for his friend’s comeback last week, telling local news reporters: “He belongs in this league. I’m happy the Blazers gave him an opportunity. He’ll make the most of it. We’ll see what happens. I’m just happy he’s back in the league.”
Of the 19 players in league history with at least 25,000 career points and more than 6,500 rebounds, only four have not won an N.B.A. championship: Karl Malone, Dominique Wilkins, Alex English and Anthony.