Carmelo Anthony did not travel with the Portland Trail Blazers to Los Angeles for Monday’s game against the Lakers due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced Sunday. At this point, it is unclear why exactly the league’s health and safety protocols would prevent Anthony from traveling with the Blazers to Los Angeles. The Blazers gave the same designation to forward Nassir Little.
Anthony played 20 minutes in Portland’s victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday, and as recently as Sunday afternoon, he tweeted about his excitement about playing against close friend LeBron James again. That suggests that whatever prevented Anthony from traveling with the team was recent and unexpected.
While a positive COVID-19 test is a possibility, several others exist too and nothing can be said definitively. Technically, the Blazers have not even ruled Anthony out of the game, only declaring Zach Collins as out due to injury. So far, the Rockets are the only team to have lost players due to health and safety protocol violations. Ironically, that is who Portland played against on Saturday, though the offending players did not play.
Portland will be on the road for the next four games, but will only have two stops on the trip: Los Angeles and San Francisco. Whether Anthony will be able to return to the team on either stop is not yet clear, but fortunately, Portland is deep enough at the forward positions to sustain an extended absence of his. Offseason additions Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. have supplanted Anthony in Portland’s starting lineup, so while the Blazers would certainly prefer to have Carmelo with him, they are prepared for whatever happens in this situation.