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Carmelo Anthony calls signing with Blazers 'a perfect opportunity'

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 11/19/2019 Matt Eppers, USA TODAY
Carmelo Anthony standing in front of a crowd: Carmelo Anthony appeared in 10 games for the Rockets last season. © Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports Carmelo Anthony appeared in 10 games for the Rockets last season.

After a year away from the NBA, Carmelo Anthony is returning with the Portland Trail Blazers in what he is calling "a perfect opportunity."

In a video posted to his YouTube channel Monday night, Anthony spoke publicly for the first time since agreeing to a non-guaranteed contract with the Blazers. Anthony said he'd always viewed Portland as a potential suitor and that a deal came together over a 48-hour period last week.

"I always kept my eye on Portland. It just didn't work out at other times, but now it seems like it's a perfect opportunity," Anthony said.

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Anthony is expected to join the Blazers during their current road trip and could make his debut with the team as early as Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Portland's interest in Anthony was not new. The Blazers expressed interest in potentially acquiring him when Anthony was a member of the New York Knicks. When Anthony was on his way out of New York in the summer of 2017, Blazers stars Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum lobbied for Anthony to join them in Portland.

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Anthony has worked out with McCollum in the past and said he and Lillard have stayed in contact.

"Me and Dame, we've been talking for the past couple years, off and on," Anthony said. "I just look at that opportunity, that team, and say, 'Look, this is what I can bring to the team. This is where I can help.' It will only work if all parties see it the same way."

Anthony has not played since Nov. 8, 2018, when he appeared in the last of 10 games for the Houston Rockets last season. Shortly after, the team said it was parting ways with Anthony, but the Rockets kept him on the roster until trading him to the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 22. He didn't play a game for the Bulls, who waived him on Feb. 1. He remained unsigned for the rest of the season.

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"What happened before is the past, I can't dwell on that. I learned from that," Anthony said in the video.

The third overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Denver Nuggets, Anthony has a career scoring average of 24 points per game. He is 19th on the NBA career list with 25,551 points and averaged at least 20 per game in each of his first 14 seasons. Anthony, the league scoring champ in 2012-13, is a 10-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA selection.

A go-to scorer for the bulk of his career, Anthony has struggled to accept a diminished role and playing time over the past two seasons. He said he's now ready to make the necessary changes to prolong his career.

"This happened at a point in my life where I do have a lot of clarity and understanding of different situations and just life," Anthony said in the video. "My approach is totally different."

Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Carmelo Anthony calls signing with Blazers 'a perfect opportunity'

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