It looks like the Carmelo Anthony to Los Angeles Lakers train hasn’t come to a full stop just yet. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Lakers are interested in bringing on the 34-year-old scorer if he becomes available.
“I heard three teams I think it can be for Melo, and this could change—I mean, he’s still with Houston—New Orleans, Portland and the L.A. Lakers. Those are the three teams I heard.”
This contradicts the report by Marc J. Spears of ESPN, who said the Lakers “are done” making free agent signings in the immediate future. Spears also reported the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers are rumored to be interested in Anthony.
If the Lakers are indeed interested in signing Anthony, there are two ways they could do it.
The first, and easiest, way would be to waive a guaranteed contract to free up a roster spot. In that scenario, the Lakers would likely part ways with third-year center Ivica Zubac, who is in the final year of his rookie deal and has fallen out of the rotation completely since the team signed veteran center Tyson Chandler.
They could also try and facilitate a trade for Anthony with the Rockets, but unless the Rockets were willing to attach an asset with Anthony, the Lakers have no incentive to do a deal. Additionally, Houston would likely rather waive Anthony outright before giving up draft considerations or young players.
However, these are moves 29 other teams in the league can make. Why would the Lakers be the team to do it?
Beyond his relationship with LeBron James and the theoretical shooting he brings to the table, there’s no reason for the Lakers to be monitoring Anthony’ situation in Houston.
One could argue he’s an upgrade at the backup four spot over Michael Beasley, but unlike Anthony, Beasley has shown he understands what his role is on a contending team at this stage of his career. Anthony has had less success in dealing with that.
Would it set the Lakers back? Maybe not. Would it move the needle for them at all? Probably not.
Unless Anthony is going to buy into a role as a spot up shooter, it’s hard to see where he fits on the Lakers. Hopefully another team picks him up before we find out what that would look like.
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