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Blazers’ Carmelo Anthony reveals newfound joy for the game comes from freedom

Carmelo Anthony

Following two failed stints since being traded by the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony has finally found a true home and a renewed sense of joy for the game upon signing with the Portland Trail Blazers in November.

Melo admits it’s been a tough year away from basketball, but after finding inner peace with his situation, the freedom he’s been given by head coach Terry Stotts in this system has allowed him to flourish and enjoy the game once again.

“That’s why I’m able to go out there and do what I do and play the way that I’ve been playing as of late — because I have a clear mind and I can just play freely,” Anthony told ESPN’s Baxter Holmes. “I don’t have to worry about making mistakes and being pulled or just being on a string or being in a box.

“When you can just go out there and be free and play basketball and do what you do best, I think that’s where the most joy comes from.”

Unlike previous stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets that mired him as a glorified role player, Melo has thrived by being allowed to do what he does best — something Stotts has empowered him to do.

“I think you have to give them freedom to do what they do best,” said Stotts, who has put him in pick-and-roll action and given Anthony the green light to spot up for mid-range shots.

“I try not to pigeonhole players. Melo, he’s a Hall of Fame player. He knows his game. He’s a smart player. I think it would be crazy to try and put him in a box.”

Anthony was deemed as done and out of the league due to an outdated playing style and his shortcomings on defense — yet he has quickly showed he’s capable of being an impact player by doing some of the same things that made him a perennial scoring machine the first 14 years of his NBA career.