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Carmelo Anthony’s former coach George Karl gives him advice on free agency

Carmelo Anthony, George Karl, Blazers

George Karl, Carmelo Anthony’s former coach with the Denver Nuggets, is doling out some advice before his former star player hits free agency. The message? Don’t mess up a good thing with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Via SiriusXM NBA Radio:

“I think he fits in Portland,” Karl said. “It seems like him and [head coach] Terry [Stotts] have a connection and a communication level that I haven’t seen with Melo at a lot of his stops along the way in his career. And he fit with the team. And why try to figure it out some place else when you got a good place, good team that’s close to being really good? I would recommend him going back to Portland.”

Karl coached Anthony from 2005-10, including Anthony’s only career trip to the conference finals in 2009.

Anthony has expressed his desire to remain with Portland, and Karl’s comments align with what Anthony said about his comfort level with the Blazers:

“I pray that it can be Portland,” Anthony said about where he wants to play basketball next season, via Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest. “Honestly, I think that I found a home in Portland. I got comfortable with the organization. I got comfortable with the guys on the team. They got comfortable with me. At this point in my career, I do think that’s the best fit for me…I really hope it can be Portland at the end of the day.”

Anthony started all 58 games he played with the Blazers in 2019-20, and he generally performed about as well as anyone could have expected coming off a year out of the league. He averaged 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds during the regular season and hit multiple clutch shots during the team’s run to the playoffs in the bubble. Overall, he nailed a solid 38.5% of his nearly four 3-point attempts per game in his first season in Portland.

However, with a presumably healthy Zach Collins and Rodney Hood coming back to join the rotation, plus Trevor Ariza (who opted out of the bubble), Anthony could be looking at a reduced role in Portland if he sticks around. There has been some speculation that this reduced role might lead him to look elsewhere.

A return to the New York Knicks has been speculated, too, largely due to Anthony’s close personal relationship with his former agent and Knicks president Leon Rose.

Anthony, 36, will be entering free agency ahead of his 18th NBA season.