The Los Angeles Lakers shocked everyone and moved Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley for Mike Muscala, freeing up a roster spot for all kinds of viable options. So of course the first name floated out there by various reporters was Carmelo Anthony.
Lakers will now seriously look at signing Carmelo Anthony, per source. https://t.co/7eV4ReNGlI— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) February 7, 2019
The Lakers plan to evaluate the full buyout market once it takes shape, but Carmelo Anthony is expected to be among the considerations too, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 7, 2019
But Anthony isn’t guaranteed to fill the spot:
As for the Carmelo-Lakers question, he’s an option they’re considering, but there are expected to be many other options on buyout market. And those recently bought out players are considered more game-ready than Melo, who has been out a while.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 7, 2019
Carmelo Anthony is a possible addition for the Lakers, but not an inevitability a team source tells ESPN. LAL will monitor the buyout market and will also consider a piece that could fortify their depth at PG or C, two positions they’ve been hit with injuries this season— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 7, 2019
Those other options Shelburne is mentioning could include Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza and perhaps even DeAndre Jordan (or Wesley Matthews for that matter) depending on how things go in New York. All those names are objectively and thoroughly better than Carmelo Anthony right now. Every single one. It isn’t remotely close, either.
If the Lakers do indeed go down this line, it would signal that LeBron James has thoroughly taken over the direction of the organization, despite selling anyone who would listen only months ago on the idea of a partnership between him and Magic Johnson.
Melo hasn’t improved the situation around him in two years. A season ago, it was the Oklahoma City Thunder that he struggled to fit with, and only months ago, it was the Houston Rockets who exiled Anthony after only 10 games. Both teams have gotten legitimately better in his absence. This is all objectively true.
We’ll see how the Lakers actually fill this roster spot. It’s too early to freak out before we actually see what direction they actually go in. But the fact that they’re still interested at all is a concern for what it might mean for the organization moving forward. There are better options out there, and going with Anthony would be a move to prioritize making LeBron happy above improving the roster.