LeBron James: Carmelo Anthony Joining Lakers Would Be 'Great'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Houston Rockets wait for and inbound at Staples Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and Houston Rockets outcast Carmelo Anthony have long been friends, and James said on Tuesday evening that he would welcome the opportunity to play with him.

"We'll see. I don't run the team. There are obviously things that need to be worked out on both sides," he said, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. "But I've always wanted to play with Melo, and if the opportunity presents itself, it'll be great. So we'll see what happens."

Dave McMenamin @mcten

After being spotted getting dinner with Carmelo Anthony in NYC, LeBron was asked if he’d want to play with him on the Lakers. He says yes - which is pretty obvious given their history - but stops short of making any sort of declaration that LAL needs to make it happen. https://t.co/6HVtPwQ7Ak

James' comments come in the wake of the New York Times' Marc Stein reporting that the Lakers have "resisted the idea thus far" of acquiring Anthony.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

A newsletter excerpt on Carmelllllo Annnnnthony (Knicks PA voice) ... https://t.co/wkYCxwttCR

Stein's report jibes with one from Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times earlier in December:

Brad Turner @BA_Turner

Lakers have no interest in acquiring Carmelo Anthony, per sources. Sources said people want to attach players to Lakers now. Sources said Melo people called Lakers a while back and that LeBron hasn’t talked to Lakers prez Magic Johnson/Rob Pelinka about getting Melo.

Anthony, 34, was once one of the NBA's most dangerous offensive weapons, averaging 24 points per game over the course of his career. But in his last two stops with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Rockets, he's failed to make a major impact or fit into the team's scheme, proving to be a liability instead.

In just 10 games for the Rockets this year, Anthony has posted 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest. But when he's on the court, the Rockets are outscored by nine points per 100 possessions. When he's off the court, the Rockets outscore opponents by 2.8 points per 100 possessions.

Anthony can still score, but his game doesn't fit the modern NBA. He's an isolation scorer who tends to get his buckets on contested mid-range jumpers, a far less efficient mode of scoring than shooting threes. 

And he remains a defensive liability. 

If Anthony was willing to commit more defensively and stand on the three-point line on offense, he could fit next to James on the Lakers. But his high-usage past simply won't fit with James running the show in the half court, a lesson that Brandon Ingram is also learning this season.

Ingram, like Anthony, is better at creating offense with the ball in his hands than moving off the ball and shooting quickly. Both players are capable of being catch-and-shoot options, but it isn't necessarily either player's wheelhouse. 

Ingram's future in Los Angeles is in question in part for that very reason, as B/R's Eric Pincus reported Monday. Anthony's fit should likewise be called into question for those factors, even if James would sign off on bringing him aboard.