Few active players around the league have been linked more to the Lakers during their careers than Carmelo Anthony. Dating back to his time in Denver, Anthony has been long targeted by multiple iterations of Lakers front offices for various reasons throughout his career.
It should come with a slight surprise, then, that not even Anthony had ever pictured himself as a Laker. In an interview with Spectrum SportsNet, Anthony revealed that he never thought he’d land in Los Angeles.
“Never, never, never, never,” Anthony said. “I try to think about it, I try to process it, I know what it means to wear purple and gold just from the history of the game and just following and competing against it and really understanding the true essence of what it means to be a Laker... But never have I thought that I would be wearing purple and gold. Especially at this point in time of my career, but hey, everything happens for a reason, and I believe that.”
Anthony’s links to the Lakers started back in February of 2011 with reports of a potential trade involving Andrew Bynum. Anthony eventually was dealt to the Knicks before entering free agency in 2014 where, again, the Lakers were waiting. In their most serious pursuit of him, a Kobe Bryant-led recruiting pitch saw the Lakers and Knicks battle it out for his signature, with the latter eventually coming out victorious. When Anthony was released by the Rockets early in the 2018-19 season, it was his connection to LeBron James that led to reports of Lakers interest.
It’s telling that despite all those ties to the Lakers, Anthony says he never envisioned himself on the team. The reports of a potential trade in 2011 never got too serious, and the Lakers never seemed to truly consider Anthony in 2018, but their pursuit in 2014 did have legs. While the Lakers were the underdogs in their chase against the incumbent Knicks, it did feel at the time like there was a plausible possibility of Anthony coming to L.A. That Anthony never pictured himself in purple and gold might say more about how close the Lakers weren’t during that free agency period.
Now, though, he is a Laker, and one who has the backing of LeBron James and his other teammates and is ready to help lead the Lakers to a potential 18th title. Today, that’s all that matters. Whether he foresaw it or not, Anthony is finally here.