Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony isn’t done yet.
The 36-year-old Anthony, who had spent more than a year out of the NBA — after sour endings in Oklahoma City and Houston — before signing with the Trail Blazers last season, expects to return to the league next season.
“In my mind, I’ll be right back in the fray of things when next season comes,” Anthony said Saturday after the Trail Blazers fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in a season-ending, 131-122 Game 5 loss. The Lakers won the series four games to one.
And, more than anything, Anthony, who averaged 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists during the regular season, said he’d like it to be with Portland.
“I pray that it can be Portland, I think I found a home in Portland,” Anthony said after scoring 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting in 40 minutes Saturday.
He later added, “I think you [media members] saw it, why this is a good fit for me. Whenever you find a situation that’s comfortable and allows you to be who you are, you want to stay in that situation. There’s no need to try different things when something is working.”
Anthony made his comments after a vintage performance against his longtime friend and former high school rival LeBron James.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, James and Anthony are the third pair of opposing players at age 35 or older to each score 25 points in the same playoff game, joining Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford in 2017, and Elgin Baylor and Richie Guerin in 1970.
“Proud as hell of my brother @carmeloanthony doing what he did on his return!!” James tweeted after their matchup Saturday night.
Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum referred to Anthony as “fantastic,” and Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts called Anthony “special.”
“I feel very honored to have been able to coach him,” Stotts said. “He’s a Hall of Fame player, and he’s a Hall of Fame guy.”