The rumors and speculation about Carmelo Anthony potentially joining the Los Angeles Lakers just refuses to die, despite it making almost zero sense for a team that doesn’t have an open roster spot and doesn’t need any aspect of Anthony’s skillset.
Anthony was traded to the Chicago Bulls Monday afternoon, and will be waived some time over the next couple weeks. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news of Anthony’s trade and also offered up this little nugget to drive Lakers fans insane:
The Lakers have an interest in Anthony but have no plans to waive a player to create an available roster spot for him, league sources said. If a roster spot becomes available with the Lakers before or after the trade deadline, they’ll be a possible destination for Anthony, league sources said.
Hours before Anthony was sent from Houston to Chicago, Luke Walton was asked about if the Lakers might need to make any other moves to compensate for Lonzo Ball’s absence, which will last anywhere from four to six weeks. Walton said that Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson might do something, but that if they don’t, he has faith both in the team he coaches as well as those in charge of piecing it together.
“I love our team,” Walton said. “I know Rob and Magic are working, looking for other options and possibilities. What that is, I don’t know, and if we don’t do anything that’s fine too. We go out there with our guys that have been here working their tails off for us all year long.”
It all comes down to how soon Rajon Rondo and LeBron James return from their injuries. If Rondo only misses Monday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors but is able to return Thursday night, then any need for a point guard decreases a bit. If James is able to return some time over the next week or so, the Lakers should mostly be fine.
There is not, however, any scenario where the Lakers need to trade for Carmelo Anthony. Reading between the lines of the recent reporting on the Lakers’ interest in Anthony, it seems like the front office is not particularly desperate to acquire him.
As Woj notes, the Lakers would have to waive a player in order to sign Melo, but don’t plan on waiving anyone. Some type of trade is therefore the only way they’d be able to add him, but there aren’t very many trades like that to be made that would actually objectively improve the team while also maintaining flexibility for this upcoming summer.
Hell, even in the most recent report tying Anthony to the Lakers, they threw some impressive shade, noting that the Lakers had concern about Anthony’s “conditioning and the overall state of his game.” If a team is really as interested in a player, they don’t normally publicly question those kinds of things about said player, even anonymously.
This situation likely won’t be resolved until at or after the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 7. Pelinka and Johnson have some work to do if they want to appease LeBron James and acquire his friend. It’s just impossible to say right now how willing they are to make it work, if they’re willing to at all.
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