Carmelo Anthony to start Tuesday in Trail Blazers debut

Jason Owens

Carmelo Anthony is making his debut with the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans and is in the starting lineup.

The Trail Blazers announced Anthony among the starters shortly before tipoff after ESPN’s Marc Spears reported the news earlier on Tuesday.

With Damian Lillard expected to miss the game with back spasms, the Trail Blazers will be without their primary scoring option. Portland signed Anthony to help fill a scoring void in the frontcourt and could look to Anthony for a heavier load than anticipated with Lillard out.

Anthony’s first NBA action in more than a year

Anthony hasn’t played an NBA game since Nov. 8, 2018 during a brief stint with the Houston Rockets. He signed a non-guaranteed contract that goes through January on Tuesday after news broke last week that he’d reached an agreement with the Trail Blazers.

Carmelo Anthony is expected to start in his Portland debut. (Troy Taormina-USA Today)
Carmelo Anthony is expected to start in his Portland debut. (Troy Taormina-USA Today)

The contract will be come guaranteed if he stays with the team through January, according to the Associated Press.

“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,” Portland president of basketball operations Neil Oshey said in a statement.

LeBron’s excited

Lebron James tweeted his excitement for his friend’s return to the league when he saw Anthony in pregame warmups.

Anthony: ‘Perfect opportunity’

Anthony is expected to wear jersey No. 00 with Portland. He addressed joining the Trail Blazers in a Monday YouTube video.

“I always kept an eye on Portland,” he said. “It just didn’t work out at other times, but now it seems like it’s a perfect opportunity.”

Anthony averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds a game while shooting 40.4 percent from the floor in his last full NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017-18.

In 10 games with the Houston Rockets last season, Anthony averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds before the team eventually removed him from the rotation and traded him to the Chicago Bulls, where he was immediately waived. He hasn’t played in the NBA since.

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