The Melo in Portland Era is officially underway and while it's a little weird he is using the #StayMe70 hashtag while no longer being #7, it was interesting to hear him open up about the process and how things can be different for both him and the team this time around. I would have thought this was something that had been in the works for a while, but to learn that it basically all happened within 48 hours is pretty nuts. Pitch the idea on a Wednesday and need a commitment by Thursday. Obviously Melo was going to accept it, what other choice did he have? You would think he would be foaming at the mouth to join the team, but instead he opted for 3-4 days to get his mind right. What kind of shit is that. Did he not want to play in HOU or something last night? Like the Blazers are hanging on by a thread here, there isn't exactly a ton of time to waste.
It was also interesting to hear about how he always kept his eye on Portland. Remember Dame & Co pitched this dude hard to come join the Blazers in previous years and it's a shame we never truly saw Prime Melo with that group. One thing he said stood out though, and it's a line we've heard before from Melo
"It will only work if all parties see it the same way"
Isn't that what the problem has been in both OKC and HOU? To me, this is a Melo issue and not a team issue. None of this shit will work if he finally doesn't accept the reserve roll that is now his NBA life. Does the team have to understand how best to use Melo and set him up for success? Of course, but the issue really has been Melo's refusal to accept what almost every NBA vet needs to accept at this stage of their career unless your name is LeBron James. On this team, Melo is a role player, he's a guy who they will need to knock down open shots, get to the FT line, and actually show a pulse on defense. That's it. I would argue the success is more about Melo seeing it the Blazers way above anything else. This is essentially his last chance to show that he truly is different and can not be a detriment to a team with deep playoff aspirations.
Look, the Blazers wing production has been so bad this season it certainly can't bet any worse for Melo. As I wrote the other day there are actual ways Melo can help this thing if everything goes right
and I'm certainly rooting for him at this point. I thought he got sort of boned in HOU for their early struggles and the league is better when Melo is in it and actually productive. Can he pull it off? Who knows, the odds probably aren't in his favor but it's going to be fascinating to find out.