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Blazers’ CJ McCollum reacts to possibility of Carmelo Anthony returning next season

Carmelo Anthony, C.J. McCollum, Blazers

Carmelo Anthony has played 63 games (including playoffs) as C.J. McCollum’s teammate with the Portland Trail Blazers, and both players want to see that number increase in 2021.

Portland’s rollercoaster season ended on Saturday in a 131-122 loss to the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers.

Anthony is set to be a free agent ahead of his age-37 NBA season, and he made it clear where he wants to play next year.

“I pray that it can be Portland, honestly,” Anthony said to The Athletic after the game when asked about the next stop in his basketball journey. “I think I’ve 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, and at this point in my career, I do think that is the best fit for me.”

Portland signed the 10-time All-Star last November, giving Anthony his first opportunity to show he still belongs in the league since he was waived by the Houston Rockets in Nov. 2018. Anthony started every game he played in Portland, averaging 15.4 points and 8.3 rebounds in nearly 33 minutes per game.

“Whenever you find a situation that is comfortable and allows you to be who you are, you want to stay in that situation,” Anthony added. “There is no need to try different things when something is working.”

McCollum, too, expressed his desire to see Anthony back in a Blazers uniform next season.

“We are thankful to have him,” McCollum said. “Hopefully he can come back next year, but once again, that is above my pay grade. If it was up to me, I would like to play with him for the rest of his career, but I guess that is to be determined.”

With Damian Lillard and Zach Collins out with injuries by the end of the team’s epic bubble run, the Blazers finished their 2019-20 season nearly just as short-handed as they were for the pre-pandemic portion of it.

Anthony averaged 15.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in the playoff series against his old friend and foe LeBron James and dropped a personal bubble-high 27 points (9-16 FG) in what—at least for him and McCollum—is hopefully not his final game as a Blazer.