Big news dropped in the NBA world when the Blazers signed a player that nearly played for the Chicago Bulls last season, forward Carmelo Anthony.
The Portland Trail Blazers shook the NBA world by signing the former NBA superstar forward Carmelo Anthony. As a player that last was with the Chicago Bulls, even though he didn’t play a single game with the team, Melo and his free agency was a big storyline from the offseason and the beginning of the regular season.
The last full season that Melo played in the NBA was with the Oklahoma City Thunder where he averaged 16.2 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. But he shot just 40.4 percent from the field in that 2017-18 campaign with the Thunder.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Trail Blazers signed Melo to a non-guaranteed contract on Nov. 14. He is set to join the Trail Blazers for their upcoming mid-November road trip.
The Blazers likely signed Melo to fill the need for scoring depth at the forward position. They were getting very thin thanks to injuries to their top forwards such as Zach Collins, Pau Gasol, and Jusuf Nurkic.
About the only big man left in Portland that was productive game in and game out is the former Miami Heat standout center Hassan Whiteside. But when a team that’s expected to be in playoff contention like the Blazers has to give significant minutes off the bench to players like Anthony Tolliver and Mario Hezonja, they’re in trouble.
However, the timeline of Melo’s free agency started when the Bulls bought him out in a “cash considerations” deal last season with the Houston Rockets. The Rockets was the last team that Melo actually played for in NBA action.
There was little to no need ever for the Bulls to bring in the volume scoring and tough shot making ability of Melo off the bench. And given this young and building locker room during the third year of this rebuild, the presence of Melo could’ve been a little risky.
But a team that has so little scoring depth like the Bulls on the wing right now gave the idea that signing Melo might not be the worst thing in the world. It did make more sense for the Bulls either to wait for second-year small forward Chandler Hutchison to heal up or for the front office to sign someone like veteran Iman Shumpert.
If the Bulls continue to thin out on the wing anymore than they are now with the usual starting small forward Otto Porter Jr. out with an ankle sprain, the circumstances could get dire. Two of the more discussed veteran wings options on the free agent market are now signed. Melo landed with the Blazers and Shumpert just signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
This move by the Blazers to sign Melo also shows that NBA teams aren’t afraid to go for the more risky veteran options to fill depth needs on the free agent market. Portland was also able to sign Melo to a low-risk non-guaranteed contract. That was similar to how the Los Angeles Lakers signed former superstar center Dwight Howard at first.
Now see how well Howard is working out for the Lakers.
Maybe the Bulls could consider a move like this down the line if they really still need to fill up the forward or wing depth. Melo wasn’t the most viable option in the world for them. But there might be a more underrated option to sign to a deal in the near future.
A name that also might start surfacing more for NBA teams with veteran wing depth needs is the former Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith. That wouldn’t be the greatest signing in the world for the Bulls, though.