Lakers Rumors: Carmelo Anthony Interests Los Angeles in NBA Free Agency

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2021

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 29: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers moves the ball against Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the second quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 29, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Old friends LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony might finally get their chance to play together on the same NBA team. 

According to ESPN's Jordan Schultz, the Los Angeles Lakers have interest in signing the veteran forward this offseason:

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lakers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lakers</a> are “very interested” in the prospect of signing Carmelo Anthony, per a league source. Melo has been linked to the Lakers as a possibility, given his friendship w/LeBron dating back to high school. Anthony drilled a career-best 40.9 percent from 3 last season w/Portland.

The Lakers have already made major noise this offseason, reportedly acquiring veteran point guard Russell Westbrook and 2024 and 2028 second-round picks from the Washington Wizards for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick in Thursday night's NBA draft. 

The Wizards then dealt that No. 22 pick to the Indiana Pacers for Aaron Holiday. 

There are major questions how a ball-dominant point guard like Westbrook who shot 31.5 percent from three last season and isn't a great defender will fit next to James and Anthony Davis. It will be a fascinating fit, to say the least. 

There are less questions about an Anthony's fit, however, as he likely would come off the bench and reprise the Kuzma role from last year as the backup 4. The 37-year-old averaged 13.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game last year with the Portland Trail Blazers, shooting 42.1 percent from the field and a career-best 40.9 percent from three. 

He started just three games for the Blazers, coming off the bench as instant offense. It's a role he could fill for several contending teams, meaning he'll likely receive plenty of interest around the NBA this offseason. 

With the Lakers set to pay about $120.6 million to James, Westbrook and Davis alone, however, any incoming additions via free agency are going to likely have to take a paycut. And that's before potentially re-signing free agent Alex Caruso and restricted free agent Talen Horton-Tucker. 

At this stage in his career, chasing a title may be more important for Anthony than getting back market value. It's easy to see the fit with the Lakers in that regard.