The San Antonio Spurs fight for a playoff spot in the Western Conference got murkier with the Portland Trail Blazers signing of Carmelo Anthony.
There’s a pretty clear dividing line between the classes in the Western Conference. The Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Rockets, and Nuggets are all viewed as locks for playoff spots. Below them, the San Antonio Spurs fight with the rest of the conference for the final three playoff spots.
The competition for those final few playoff spots is always interesting and typically comes down to the final few games of the season. The already tight race was just made more interesting by the Portland Trail Blazers signing of ten-time All-Star, Carmelo Anthony. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the move.
Melo last made an appearance in the NBA with the Houston Rockets. He played in ten games for the Rockets last year before eventually being traded to the Chicago Bulls who immediately waived him. Now he’s back to provide a scoring spark for the Trail Blazers.
Before the season started it looked like the Blazers would have been in the upper class of West. Now sitting 13th in the conference it seems it was time for the Blazers to shake things up after their slow start. It will be interesting to see what Melo brings to the table for Portland.
Portland’s problems aren’t coming on the offensive side of the ball which makes this signing particularly interesting. They’re averaging 112.2 points per night, good enough for 12th in the league. Their defensive struggles have cost them games, so it’s strange to see them add an offensive focused player like Melo to their roster.
One takeaway from this is that, unlike the Spurs, the Blazers are recognizing that their season is not going the way that they had planned and are making adjustments to get back on course. That’s a stark contrast to the Spurs who seem determined to attempt to fight through their early-season struggles and come out stronger on the other side. Only time will tell which path is more conducive to success.
San Antonio could end up fighting with Portland for one of those final remaining playoff spots so this signing may end up having a sizeable impact on the Spurs when all is said and done. On the other hand, the deal between the Blazers and Melo is non-guaranteed so the two could quickly come to the realization that it is not a good fit and cut ties.
Per Woj’s report, Melo will join the Blazers on their upcoming six-game road trip which kicks off in San Antonio on Saturday night. It would be a quick addition to the rotation but the first time that Anthony takes the floor in a Portland uniform could very well come in that matchup against the Spurs.
San Antonio will be playing Portland on the second night of a back to back so it could be a good time to re-introduce Melo to the NBA. We will have to see when Spurs and Blazers take the court on Saturday night.