Ace recruiter CJ McCollum thinks Carmelo Anthony is 'interested' in Blazers

CJ McCollum is doing everything he can to get Carmelo Anthony to Portland. (Getty)

Carmelo Anthony’s no-trade clause remains a major impediment in ongoing talks between the New York Knicks and several other NBA teams. But if CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard have their way, ‘Melo’s no-trade clause could become slightly less restrictive.

Both McCollum and Lillard confirmed Wednesday that they have been recruiting Anthony, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian:

The issue for McCollum, Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers is that ‘Melo has a say in any talks between the Knicks and Blazers. After previously refusing to waive the no-trade clause, Anthony has said he will waive it if a deal is in place to send him to Houston or Cleveland. But he has never mentioned Portland. If Anthony doesn’t want to go to Portland, he won’t be going to Portland.

So the Blazers must convince Anthony to open his list of potential destinations up to include a third city. McCollum is trying his hardest to do just that. And he thinks it’s working:

McCollum is pouring everything he has into the recruitment efforts. He posted a photoshopped picture of Anthony in a Blazers uniform on Instagram over the weekend.

Wednesday, he went even more public with his courting of the Knicks star:

It has become pretty clear that ‘Melo wants out of New York. But his avenues out of town are limited by the no-trade clause. Neither the Cavaliers nor the Rockets have anything good to realistically offer. And if ‘Melo isn’t open to going elsewhere — and because it is ever so clear that the Knicks do intend to trade him — New York doesn’t have any leverage.

But if Anthony is “interested” in Portland, as McCollum claims he is, the bidding war is no longer confined to two teams. Whether or not ‘Melo’s openness to Portland eventually results in a trade to Portland, it could help move trade talks along, and bring the Knicks closer to a return package that they would actually consider accepting.