Reigning Western Conference Player of the Week Carmelo Anthony says that if the Blazers hadn't called with a roster/contract offer back in November, he was ready to officially call it an NBA career. Anthony made those comments in an interview with Rachel Nichols that aired Tuesday on ESPN.
"I was preparin' myself," Anthony said about life after basketball, per ESPN's Nick Friedell. "And I had prepared myself to kinda just walk away from the game -- if the right situation didn't come about."
Without going too deep into specifics, Anthony said that the Blazers were a team that made him feel genuinely wanted which was important when deciding to come back to the court after a playing layoff that lasted more than a calendar year.
"If I were just to go to a team and to a situation just to be on the team and it didn't work out, it was gonna come back on me anyway," he said. "Like, the blame is gonna be on me anyway. So a situation like Portland, where I could just come in and just play my game and have a group of guys that really want me, and the organization that want me."
"There's no better feelin' than when you feel wanted." he continued. "And I think that's what kinda keeps me motivated and understandin', like, this situation is -- it is and was the best situation for me."
At the beginning of the 2018-19 season, Anthony was on the Houston Rockets' roster. By mid-November, that team announced that they were "parting ways" with the 10-time All-Star. On Jan. 22 he was traded to the Bulls and, by Feb. 1, Chicago had waived him.
Though he was adamant that he could still play during that time off, he did tell Nichols that the end was getting near before he was summoned by Portland's front office.
"I was ready to walk away, yeah," he said. "It was hard. But there came a point when I was, like, 'You know what? I've given a lot to this game. I played 15, 16 years in this game. I'm ready to give it up, because I just knew that at that point in time from a basketball standpoint, that narrative that it -- it was already out there. So I'd been fightin' an uphill battle anyway if I didn't go to the right situation."
He also added that a year off the floor has actually recharged his body a bit, in addition to recharging him mentally.
"I feel good," he said. "Just because I'm 35 years old and I'm supposed to be, you know, the book says you're supposed to be about to retire around this time? Like -- like, no, I've always been against all odds. ... I just had a year off. ... I had a year off restin' my body.
"The most important part about that is I rested my mind right. I got my mind right. And I don't think people understand how strong that is. When you're able to get your mind right, everything else flows."