Carmelo Anthony is praying he will be able to stay with the Portland Trail Blazers next season after winning praise from LeBron James for his efforts since making an NBA comeback.
The former New York Knicks forward's career had been in doubt following spells with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets between 2017 and 2019, after which he did not play a game for over a year.
But 10-time All-Star Anthony joined the Blazers in November and impressed with averages of 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists across 58 outings in the regular season.
The 36-year-old saw his postseason come to an end when the team lost 131-122 to James and the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of their playoff series on Saturday, but he again caught the eye with a 27-point outing.
"Proud as hell of my brother Carmelo Anthony doing what he did on his return!!" James wrote on Twitter after the Lakers had sealed their 4-1 first-round win.
James had 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists making he and Anthony – who now hopes to remain with Portland – only the third pair of opposing players aged 35 or older to each score 25 points in a playoff game, per ESPN.
"In my mind, I'll be right back in the fray of things when next season comes," Anthony told reporters.
"I pray that it can be Portland, I think I found a home in Portland.
"You saw why this is a good fit for me. Whenever you find a situation that's comfortable and allows you to be who you are, you want to stay in that situation.
"There's no need to try different things when something is working."
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said of Anthony: "I feel very honoured to have been able to coach him. He's a Hall of Fame player, and he's a Hall of Fame guy."