The history between Carmelo Anthony and the Los Angeles Lakers goes far beyond last season, when the two sides were also linked to each other. When Anthony was an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2014, he met with the Lakers and they reportedly offered him a four-year, $95 million max contract. Of course, Anthony ultimately decided re-sign with the New York Knicks, but the interest was mutual at one point.
The difference between 2014 and 2019, though, is that the Lakers probably could have signed Anthony if they wanted to, and it would have cost them a lot less than $23.7 million annually. After being waived by the Houston Rockets just 10 games into the 2018-19 season, Anthony had a difficult time garnering interest from other teams in the league.
The Lakers reportedly considered signing him towards the tail end of the season, but both sides decided it wasn’t the right time. Those talks were expected to pick back up in the summer, but they weren’t in spite of his close ties to LeBron James and James’ public support.
Now, Anthony is playing the best basketball he’s played in years on the Portland Trail Blazers, who James and the Lakers will see in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. But James doesn’t have any resentment towards the Lakers for not signing his close friend, and thinks things ended up working out fine for both parties.
“Everything happens for a reason,” James said. “And everything works it’s way out how it’s supposed to. Obviously I would have loved for him to be a Laker at that point in time, but I’m not sitting here today like ‘damn, he’s supposed to be a Laker, he should be doing that for us.’ No. Because what he’s doing for them, it was already written. It was already written. If it was written for him to be a Laker, he would have been a Laker.
“But I think through the grace of God and through the grace of him being patient and him finding the right opportunity for him to succeed and be who he is, it landed him in Portland, and there’s no envy for that. There’s only praise and excitement. I’m just grateful that he’s back here, back in the position where I knew he belonged. It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool.”
James and Anthony have seen each other at every step of their career, from high school to their 17th seasons in the NBA. While it’s obvious they would have loved to play together, it’s incredible that they’ll be able to go head-to-head in a meaningful game one last time.
And who knows? With the way Melo has played in Portland, he may have a spot on the Lakers’ roster next season if he wants it. LeBron did say he’d take a pay cut, right?