How blockbuster NBA trade could open door for bulked-up Melo to make shock NY return

It looks like Carmelo Anthony could be muscling up for a return to the Knicks.

In a video and pictures posted Thursday on social media by his New York-based trainer, Chris Brickley, the 36-year-old Anthony can be seen draining 3-pointers at the Summit Gym in Midtown. In one photo, he is shown shirtless and buffed up.

After Portland, Anthony’s team this past season, became a surprise bubble playoff entrant with a “seedings-games’’ surge, the Trail Blazers were eliminated 3-1 in the first round by the eventual champion Lakers.

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To cap his comeback from exile, Anthony became a key third scorer for the Blazers, who were led by the spectacular play of Damian Lillard, along with CJ McCollum.

When the Blazers were eliminated on Aug. 29, the Brooklyn native sounded very much like he wanted to re-sign with Portland.

“I pray that it could be Portland,” Anthony said on Zoom. “Honestly, thank God I found a home in Portland. I got comfortable with the organisation. I got comfortable with the guys on the team. They got comfortable with me.’’

However, if point guard Chris Paul makes his way to the Knicks via a trade, sources have said Anthony is likely to want to follow. Anthony and Paul are close friends who dreamed of playing together in the NBA and saw their alliance in Houston end prematurely.

Both players were represented by Knicks president Leon Rose when he was basketball chief of Creative Artists Agency. A source said Rose is amenable to an Anthony return even without Paul.

If Julius Randle is part of a Paul deal, the Knicks will need a starting small forward and power forward. Anthony plays either position.

The Blazers want Anthony back, especially judging by a wild back-and-forth between the Nuggets and Blazers’ Twitter accounts Friday.

The Nuggets sent out a tweet picturing five former players and asking “Who is your favourite Nugget of all-time?’’ Anthony was not one of the five pictured, despite his storied career in Denver.

Soon after, the Blazers posted an identically themed tweet with a frame of five former Portland stars — with Anthony alongside Lillard, Brandon Roy, Clyde Drexler and Bill Walton. The photo contained the exact same message: “Who is your favourite Blazer of all-time?”

Anthony’s chiselled look is noteworthy since one of the knocks on him during his career was that he never looked in superb shape and he relied on his enormous 1-on-1 ability. Hence, scouts believed he never gave full effort on defence.

The pandemic that caused a four-month break to the season gave Anthony time to do more off-court training with basketball gyms closed. Anthony won’t turn 37 until May — which would be the latter stages of next season.

During the shutdown, Anthony, a Knick from 2011 to 2017, still worked with Brickley via virtual training. Now they can train again in person.

This appeared on NY Post and was republished with permission.

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Originally published asBulked-up NBA star’s shock return

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