Carmelo Anthony says the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans were among the teams that expressed interest in him in free agency before he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“New York was always there. Coming back to New York was always a story,” Anthony said on the Posted Up With Chris Haynes podcast. “I've always told my son, 'When [you] go to high school, I’ll be right there with you.' So the New York thing made sense. Philly, looking at Philly. I didn’t really get a chance to really converse with Philly, but there was interest there. New Orleans had interest. The interest was there. It felt good to see that again and be a part of teams being interested in me. I was just happy to be in a situation where I had options this time around.”
Anthony said he was "sitting around and waiting" for the Portland Trail Blazers to call him but ultimately got tepid interest. The 10-time All-Star spent the last two seasons in Portland, reconfiguring his offensive game to fit as a role player and bonding with star Damian Lillard.
LeBron James wound up calling Anthony and coaxing him into joining the Lakers, a move that made splashy headlines as the team goes all-in on veteran pieces. The Lakers have 10 players who are age 32 or older on their roster, many of whom are former All-Stars. Anthony, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan combine for 49 career All-Star appearances.
While Philadelphia or New Orleans may have offered a more consistent role, Anthony says his main goal is to earn his first championship.
"I reached a lot of the individual goals, but there's only one thing right now for me," Anthony told Mark Medina of USA Today. "That's the only thing I have to think about it, could think about and should think about. Everything else should be irrelevant."
Anthony has never played on the NBA Finals stage despite accomplishing nearly everything else possible for a star player.