Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony has admitted that accepting a full-time bench role was a "hard pill to swallow" but noted that he is fully commuting to his new role and helping his team win. Anthony, a 10-time NBA All Star and the 2013 NBA Scoring Champion, has been one of the best and most prolific scorers in the league over the last decade and a half but he is past his prime.
"It's what works for this team, what we need for this team," Anthony said, per ESPN. "It's not if I should be starting or not. I don't think that's the question, I don't think anybody would question [that].
I definitely don't question that. But it's just what's the best situation for the team and make it work for all parties." Anthony had conversations with the biggest stars on the Trail Blazers roster -- Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
After talking with Lillard and McCollum, Anthony realized that he would still be a big part of what Portland is trying to achieve this season. "I had to swallow that pill. I had to be really honest and transparent with the team and organization," Anthony said.
"And also with Dame and CJ. We had multiple conversations leading up to me coming back here. Those conversations were very honest from both sides. I was very comfortable and familiar with this situation, so I would rather do that here knowing this team and the players still respect me from a different level.
They let me know I still would be a major part of what happens with this team."
Anthony didn't think much about returning to Portland
"It really wasn't a tough decision," Anthony said of re-signing with the Blazers.
"I've always felt like I was coming back. It was something we discussed after the bubble. It was always a part of the plan. The decision wasn't tough. In 2017, Anthony said him coming off the bench wasn't something you'd see but his mindset has since changed.
"But honestly I had to really sit down with myself and think about that. Because it's new," Anthony said. "I tried it in Houston, but it was only seven or eight games. This is new for me. If I sit here and say the thought of that wasn't hard or difficult to hear and take and let that play with your pride and your ego, yes it does.
Especially coming from somebody like myself. But I had to take a deep breath and figure it out. We'll make it work."