With NBA officials eyeing a tentative start date in July for the league to resume play, fans have expressed excitement about it, and so have some players. But Carmelo Anthony isn’t one of those players, and he may not return if the league comes back this season.
The NBA was suspended in March because of COVID-19. Earlier this month, it was announced play would resume with the 22 teams that have a chance to make the playoffs. All games and practices will be played at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, where there will be public health experts and infectious disease specialists to check everyone’s health.
But despite the Trail Blazers being one of the teams that will return, Anthony says he’s hesitant to fully commit due to a lack of details. The Portland Trail Blazers were the only NBA team that was against the league’s proposal to restart in July.
“As far as actually playing and going back down into Orlando, I’m still up in the air a little bit because I really don’t, we don’t have all the details,” Anthony said at the 2:14 mark while talking to NBA commentator Ernie Johnson Jr. on June 10. “We don’t know a lot of information, so until we have that, it’s kind of hard to just commit to it a 100 percent.”
Anthony being unsure if he wants to play may surprise some, considering he had to claw his way back to the NBA after the Houston Rockets parted ways with him after 10 games into the 2018-2019 season. The 6-foot-8 forward subsequently was traded to the Chicago Bulls and waived by them shortly afterward.
Anthony admitting that he isn’t sure about playing this season until there’s more details sounds like comments made by his teammate Damian Lillard last month.
While speaking to Yahoo! Sports, Lillard said he wouldn’t return if the league had teams play in games that didn’t count toward anything. There was a report by ESPN around the time of Lillard’s interview that said it’s possible the NBA would have players play a handful of games just to fulfill local TV deals.
“If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,’ and they’re throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don’t have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I’m going to be with my team because I’m a part of the team,” said Lillard.
But the Trail Blazers will have a shot at the playoffs. There will be eight regular-season games played to determine teams’ seed number before the start of the postseason. Seven teams from each conference that have the best record from those games and the regular season will then get a playoff spot.
The eighth seeds from the Eastern and Western conferences will be decided by a play-in series of games if the Nos. eight and nine teams in either conference are within four games of each other once the seeding games end.