PORTLAND, Ore. — If you’re anything like me, you’ve had an internal battle taking place in your mind, your heart and your gut since you heard the Portland Trail Blazers were interested in trading for Carmelo Anthony.
Will he play defense? Not a chance! Don’t bother!
Will Rip City ever land a bigger star in free agency? Not a chance! Let’s do this!
But if you’re admitting to being anything like me, you also eventually convinced yourself that a deal was worth making. A Big Four of Anthony, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic could do some serious damage, and the worst-case scenario is that he bounces next summer and GM Neil Olshey gets credit for ridding the books of one or two bloated contracts.
Unfortunately for Portland fans who think like me, Sunday night made an already unlikely trade scenario seem even less probable.
The Oregonian’s John Canzano reported Sunday night that he spoke with a person close to Anthony about the Knicks' 10-time All-Star and whether he would come to play for the Portland Trail Blazers.
I was surprised on Sunday evening to get a call from someone who has known Anthony personally for more than a decade. And when I asked why Portland wasn’t among Anthony’s preferred destinations, I didn’t get a diatribe on basketball, or the rainy weather, or how he needs to know the organization can compete for a title.
Bummer, right? As it turns out, the reason is pretty great.
‘Melo’s a doting father,' the [source]said. He’s a great dad. He’s present and he loves that kid. There’s no way he’s going to leave that little boy in New York and be 3,000 miles away from him.
For Trail Blazers fans who put basketball ahead of all else, this is still a downer. For the rest of us who realize there are too many kids out there (in NBA circles and otherwise) who don’t have a father figure in their lives, this is a respectable reason to toss the Pacific Northwest to the curb.
If you’re surprised by this news — the news that Anthony has a decent side to him — you’re living in the past.
No, Melo will never officially ditch the “Stop Snitchin’” DVD from his past. And yes, he’ll always have a 15-game suspension on his record for his involvement in the ugly Knicks-Nuggets brawl of 2006. But he’s also a philanthropist and he’s even partnered with Nickelodeon to help promote the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You read that last one right. Proof.
At this point in the Melodrama, it’s safe to say Portland is out of the mix. That’s too bad for the Blazers, and what makes matters worse is that the Houston Rockets (a competitor out West) remain the front-runners to eventually land his services.
But if you step out of your fanatic shoes and realize he’s (at least partly) basing his decision on the impact it will have on his son, you should find that sport isn’t always the top priority for a professional athlete. Sometimes making a decision that’s best for the family (something widely considered cliche or “athlete talk”) is legitimate.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ll applaud the man when he visits the Moda Center next season — as an opponent.
Oregon Sports News is a KGW News partner.