Just when we thought the Carmelo Anthony to Los Angeles train had lost all steam, a new report surfaced that links the 10-time All-Star to LeBron James and the Lakers.
According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, James and his camp believe that Anthony, who was told by the Houston Rockets that he no longer had a future with the team just 10 games into the season, can help the Lakers if given the chance.
However, James reportedly hasn’t forced the front office’s hand yet:
Anthony, 34, is estranged from the Houston Rockets – still on their payroll for the league-minimum $2.4 million but gone from the team after the two sides decided he was not a fit after just 10 games. He can’t be traded until at least Dec. 15, and sources said there had been no request made by James to Lakers president Magic Johnson or general manager Rob Pelinka to make a deal for his friend. Nor would there be.
But James and his camp still believe Anthony can play, that there could be a place for him as a contributor on a Lakers’ team that is young and continues to battle injuries.
It’s worth noting that Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that the Lakers originally didn’t want to add Carmelo Anthony when they had a chance over the summer:
The Lakers, as an organization, came into the season staunchly against the idea of adding Carmelo Anthony. But that was before the Michael Beasley signing failed to pan out. Let's see where this goes after @joevardon's report … https://t.co/SblmL9HKhp— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 7, 2018
One interesting note in this report is that James isn’t expected to ask management to trade for Anthony. As it stands, the only way for the Lakers to acquire Anthony would be via a trade, unless they were willing to waive a full guaranteed contract.
James noted this when he was asked about the prospect of Anthony joining the Lakers last month (emphasis mine):
“I have no idea to be honest. That’s not a question to ask me. Right now we have 15 roster spots right? We don’t even have a roster spot open right now. But that’s not a question for myself.”
It’s something Lakers twitter godfather Darius Soriano also put well on Twitter:
Basically what this report says: LeBron would like to play w/ Melo. JeBron thinks he can still play & help a team. He’s not asked the Lakers to go get him nor will he. Mostly tho, LeBron hates to see his buddy stuck in this situation & doesn’t want to see his career end this way.— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) December 7, 2018
If his tune has changed since then and he wants his longtime friend in a Lakers uniform, it’s hard to imagine that the front office won’t accommodate their superstar player, and perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
In a limited role, Anthony could be valuable for the Lakers, especially as a shooter. If nothing else, Anthony would give the Lakers a player that can knock down open shots.
However, from what has been reported over the past few seasons, Anthony doesn’t want a limited role. He believes he’s still one of the best scorers in the league and no one is taking that away from him, but the Lakers don’t need someone that is too big for the team in their locker room.
Hopefully, some general manager will talk themselves into Anthony before Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka do.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.