November 20, 2019 / 1:28 AM / 22 days ago

Blazers' Anthony to start; Lillard (back) sidelined

Forward Carmelo Anthony officially joined the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, while star guard Damian Lillard sat out with back spasms.

Nov 19, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony warms up before their game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

“Carmelo is an established star in this league that will provide a respected presence in our locker room and a skill set at a position of need on the floor,” said Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

The Trail Blazers activated Anthony prior to Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Coach Terry Stotts told reporters Anthony would start at power forward and play about 20 minutes.

“If he was ready to start, he was going to start,” Stotts said.

Lillard was scratched due to the back soreness he has dealt with for close to a week. Lillard is just 10-for-46 shooting over the past three games.

It wasn’t immediately known whether Lillard will miss more than one game. He is averaging 28.6 points and 7.1 assists in 14 games.

According to reports, Anthony’s one-year, non-guaranteed contract is worth up to $2.15 million.

The 10-time All-Star has not played a game in the NBA since Nov. 8, 2018 with the Houston Rockets. Houston traded him to Chicago on Jan. 22 and the Bulls waived him on Feb. 1.

Anthony, 35, holds career NBA averages of 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.02 steals in 1,064 games (1,056 starts) over 16 seasons with Denver, New York, Oklahoma City and Houston.

The Blazers granted Anthony’s request to return to the league in uniform number 00 and he is expected to provide offense for Portland.

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