While the stakes are far different than seven years ago, the Knicks and Lakers are in a familiar position in free agency this offseason. Both franchises are currently chasing the services of Carmelo Anthony, each seeing the veteran forward as a valuable contributor.
Long-time NBA reporter Marc Stein first reported on the two sides as finalists for Anthony, who is coming off a career-best year from 3-point range, late on Monday night.
Another free-agent duel of interest: Carmelo Anthony is weighing interest from both the Lakers and the Knicks, league sources say.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 3, 2021
And Golden State has joined the Lakers and Nets in the Patty Mills chase, according to @anthonyVslater
More: https://t.co/LGN9cV7Dif https://t.co/lBUWdUmeMs
On Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski appeared on “Get Up” to discuss the Lakers’ free agency options, and noted that Anthony is a player the Lakers could agree to a deal with as soon as Tuesday.
Once on the outside of the NBA looking in, Anthony shredded much of his reputation in Portland, playing a useful role for a Blazers team that made back-to-back postseason appearances. Last season, Anthony had one of his most efficient scoring years, finishing with a 50.6% effective field goal percentage, which ranks as the second-best mark of his career.
Anthony’s improved efficiency came not as a result of him shooting fewer mid-range jumpers — he ranked in the 100th percentile among forwards in the frequency of midrange jumpers per Cleaning the Glass — but came with an improvement on 3-pointers. On non-corner 3-point attempts, an area where the Lakers shot just 35.5% last season, Anthony shot 42% to rank in the 87th percentile.
While his reputation precedes him, Anthony has morphed into a useful role player in limited minutes. There are certainly worse options for the team when searching for a scorer off the bench, and given the Lakers lack of options with their financial constraints, Anthony makes a lot of sense for the organization this summer, even if he isn’t a former Laker. He would serve as another wing option as well, which the Lakers would start stockpiling alongside Kent Bazemore and Trevor Ariza should they land Anthony, giving them plenty of versatility as well.
We’ll see if it gets done, but it appears this is certainly the closest LeBron and Melo have ever come to getting a chance at a team up.