Carmelo Anthony was reportedly just waiting on the Lakers to call him before committing to join them in free agency, and on Tuesday, that call came. Anthony was debating offers between the Lakers and New York Knicks, but he has made his decision, officially agreeing to head to Los Angeles when players can start signing contracts on Aug. 6.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news, and Melo himself shortly confirmed it:
Free agent F Carmelo Anthony has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, his manager Bay Frazier tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 3, 2021
Given how limited the Lakers’ means were to add players in free agency after trading for a third max contract in Russell Westbrook, getting a scoring threat like Anthony on a discount is a solid move. Anthony is far from the player he was in his prime — that’s why he’s coming off of two straight minimum deals with the Trail Blazers, after all — but he should still be able to contribute to the Lakers this season in a smaller role while chasing his first ring.
For one thing, Melo has embraced life as a small-ball, floor-spacing power forward. He spent 71% of his minutes at the 4 last year, and shot a career-high 40.9% from 3-point range as well, according to Basketball-Reference. For a Lakers team looking for shooters anywhere they can find them, he should be able to help, especially in a role that will (likely) see him come off of the bench.
At this point in his career, Anthony is unlikely to provide much more than that, though. He’s never been known for his defense, and that’s unlikely to change at age 37, even with Anthony Davis playing behind him protecting the rim. The best the Lakers can hope for here is that Anthony spaces the floor willingly for Davis, Westbrook and his close friend LeBron James, and can punish defenses when they do choose to pay more attention to those three stars. And as long as he’s just a role player for this roster, that’s totally fine.
But outside of all the pesky basketball questions, the real most important part of this move is that it means the real Banana Boat is finally united.
Now it’s time for the front office to go to work on filling out the rest of the roster.
This story will update with more information. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.