George Karl and Carmelo Anthony know each other very well. The pair spent six years together with the Denver Nuggets and enjoyed some pretty high highs with one another.
This week, Karl appeared on Sirius XM Radio and gave his former player some advice on what he should do next season.
“I think he fits in Portland,” Karl said. “It seems like him and [head coach] Terry [Stotts] have a connection and a communication level that I haven’t seen with Melo at a lot of his stops along the way in his career. And he fit with the team. And why try to figure it out some place else when you got a good place, good team that’s close to being really good? I would recommend him going back to Portland.”
Where will Carmelo Anthony play next season?
His former head coach George Karl tells Justin Termine and Eddie Johnson why the Blazers are a perfect fit. pic.twitter.com/3v8s21VWLU
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) October 25, 2020
Portland seems to make a lot of sense for Anthony as a permanent landing spot. When asked about the potential of continuing to play alongside him, Blazers star C.J. McCollum gave him a ringing endorsement.
“If it was up to me, I’d love to play with him for the rest of his career,” he said. “I guess that’s to be determined.”
Anthony said something similar about wanting to continue in Portland, despite persistent rumors linking him to other locales.
“I pray that it can be Portland,” he said back in August, of where he will end up.
“Honestly, I think that I found a home in Portland. I got comfortable with the organization. I got comfortable with the guys on the team. They got comfortable with me. At this point in my career, I do think that’s the best fit for me… I really hope it can be Portland at the end of the day.”
This past year, Anthony averaged 15.4 points in the regular season and 15.2 points in the playoffs for Portland. He also shot over 41 percent from beyond the arc in the postseason, proving to be a crucial figure for the Blazers when they suddenly became the NBA’s hottest team in the bubble.
Championship coaches do championship things. https://t.co/Rt7179e8TK
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 22, 2020
Anthony was originally drafted by the Nuggets in the infamous class of 2003, and Karl took the team over in 2005 from interim head coach Michael Cooper.
The pair enjoyed success from the jump, with Karl transforming the 17-25 Nuggets into a legitimate force that went 32-8 to close out the year. That season they lost to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs, but they went on to spend six mostly solid years together until Anthony’s trade to the New York Knicks.
While it’s unlikely that Karl has any particularly deep insight into how Anthony thinks now, he is familiar enough with him as a player to know what would ideally suit him best. And if he thinks the answer is Portland, that shouldn’t be discounted.