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Blazers’ CJ McCollum thinks Carmelo Anthony’s failed stints with Rockets, Thunder were a ‘blessing in disguise’

CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum believes everything happens for a reason. Take for instance the time Carmelo Anthony was linked to the Blazers in 2017, with McCollum and backcourt partner Damian Lillard clamoring him to join Rip City — a chance he chose to pass up.

Fast forward two-plus years and Melo is donning the red, white, and black uniform next to a star-studded Blazers backcourt. This comes after failed stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets forced him out of the NBA for more than a year before he got the call from Portland, something McCollum views as a blessing in disguise:

“I told him ‘you going to [Oklahoma City and Houston] was a blessing in disguise for you.’ Because your understanding and appreciation for the game changed,'” McCollum told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports about Anthony. “He had time to be with his family, he got invaluable time with his son….He had a full year to workout and spend time with his kid and kind of like reflect on life, and I think his appreciation of the game shifted, it changed, the way he plays now you can see he’s excited about the game.”

Anthony has a newfound appreciation for the game and a renewed willingness to do what it takes to win games after spending his first 14 seasons as the No. 1 option for the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks.

His failures with the Thunder and Rockets ultimately shaped him into the player he is today, one that McCollum is glad to have around.