Damian Lillard hasn’t ruled out the possibility of teaming up with All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony next season. Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated was with the Portland Trail Blazers guard during the fifth annual picnic in East Oakland, where he tackled the much-talked Melo trade rumors.

Still hoping for Melo

Lillard, 27, admitted that he indeed tried to recruit Anthony to Portland, saying the Knicks star didn’t seem opposed to the idea. He and backcourt running-mate CJ McCollum switched turns in convincing Anthony to waive his no-trade clause and form a new Blazers’ Big Three.

And Although the Houston Rockets are still viewed as the top choice for Anthony if New York eventually decides to part ways with him, the Blazers guard’s recruiting effort apparently didn’t go to waste.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the Blazers have emerged as a darkhorse to land Anthony. With the Rockets having no direct pathway to salvaging the All-Star winger, the Blazers come in as another trade option for the Knicks. Portland has several young players on its roster that would pique the interest of a rebuilding team like New York. They could also throw in a future draft pick or two to sweeten their trade offer.

However, with training camp starting in less than a week, the prospect of Anthony being shipped to another team by the start of the 2017/18 NBA season becomes very unlikely.

Still, Lillard is open to any possibility between now and February trade deadline.

“I’m not giving up on anything. I just think I’ve done what I can do. And camp is a few weeks away. And you have to focus on getting ready with who we are, plan on going in as we are," Lillard said of the Melo trade.

Jusuf Nurkic contract extension

The Blazers are still undecided whether or not to commit long-term on Nurkic, who was the centerpiece of the trade with the Denver Nuggets last February. After struggling with injuries and losing his starting role to Nikola Jokic, The Bosnian 7-footer had a career revival in Portland, averaging 15.2 points on 50 percent FG shooting with 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks over 20 games.

Nurkic has always been viewed by many scouts and coaches as a talented young big man even before he was demoted to the bench. Yet, the Blazers are iffy to pull the trigger on a long-term extension because of the player’s history with injuries.

Nurkic, the 16th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, suffered a partially torn left patellar tendon that sidelined him for most of the 2015/16 season. Last March, he sustained a non-displaced fracture in his right leg, forcing him to sit the final seven games of 2017/18 NBA season. While the injuries aren’t ‘catastrophic,’ the Blazers are taking the player’s medical records seriously. They dread the prospect of committing a huge mistake with Nurkic after spending almost half of their payroll to lock in Lillard and McCollum long term. The Blazers have until Oct. 16 to come up with an extension for Nurkic or he will hit the market as a restricted free-agent next summer.