Last November, Carmelo Anthony and the Houston Rockets parted ways after just 10 lackluster games. When he went unsigned both at the end of last season after becoming a free agent, and again this summer, it seemed his time in the NBA might be over. But a few weeks ago, the Portland Trail Blazers came calling. 

Off to a terrible start, and dealing with multiple injuries in the frontcourt, the Trail Blazers were in desperate need of a boost. With few options available, Anthony’s talent and relationship with their two stars, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, made him an intriguing option. They signed him to a non-guaranteed deal, and hoped for the best. 

Anthony couldn’t be more grateful. During an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN on Tuesday, Anthony admitted that he was preparing to retire before the offer arrived from Portland. 

“I was preparin’ myself. And I had prepared myself to kinda just walk away from the game — if the right situation didn’t come about.”

“I was ready to walk away, yeah,” Anthony said. “It was hard. But there came a point when I was, like, ‘You know what? I’ve given a lot to this game. I played 15, 16 years in this game. I’m ready to give it up, because I just knew that at that point in time from a basketball standpoint, that narrative that it — it was already out there. So I’d been fightin’ an uphill battle anyway if I didn’t go to the right situation.”

All along, Anthony had been insistent that he still had something to offer, and it’s turning out he was right. There were legitimate reasons to believe this experiment wouldn’t work out, but so far Anthony is putting up 17.7 points and six rebounds per game, while shooting 37 percent from 3, and was recently named Western Conference Player of the Week. 

They aren’t empty numbers, either, as the Trail Blazers have gone 3-3 since his arrival, after starting out 5-9. In addition, the team’s offensive rating has been 8.4 points better with him on the floor. 

Even acknowledging that it’s just been six games, and the Blazers haven’t exactly faced a tough schedule, Anthony certainly looks like he belongs in the league. Retirement, at least for now, can wait. 

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