Lakers Rumors: Carmelo Anthony, LA 'Pausing' Contract Talks amid Team's Slump

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

Former New York Knick Carmelo Anthony acknowledges the crowd during the first half of the NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The "will they or won't they" of the Los Angeles Lakers and Carmelo Anthony has apparently landed on the latter.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Lakers and Melo have paused their negotiations, barring L.A. getting back into playoff contention. The Lakers had been "leaning toward" signing Anthony, but a stretch of four losses in five games caused both sides to re-evaluate.

Los Angeles is currently 4.5 games behind the No. 8 seed San Antonio Spurs.

Anthony was waived by the Bulls on Feb. 1 after being traded by the Houston Rockets. He has not played since he and the Rockets mutually agreed to part ways in November.

The Lakers have been long believed to be Anthony's likeliest next destination, though both sides were slow moving. The Lakers monitored the buyout market in hopes of landing a player who would better help their playoff push. It seemed like, for most of the process, Anthony was a fallback plan in case nothing better came along.

It appears that both sides have now decided it's best to move on without one another.

The fit here was always more about LeBron James' friendship with Melo than anything basketball-related. Offense is not the Lakers' problem. Defense is their major team issue, particularly when it comes to effort on that end. Even peak Melo had his moments of lackadaisical effort on the defensive end.

With the Lakers barely clinging to playoff hope, it makes far more sense to give minutes to young players—ones ostensibly being showcased for a potential Anthony Davis trade.

The next question that will have to be answered is whether Anthony has played his last NBA game. The Lakers were the only obvious fit, and integrating Melo is going to be a process. As his free agency continues to stretch into March, the likelier it becomes this is the end of the line.