Lakers Rumors: Execs See Carmelo Anthony Joining LeBron James, Anthony Davis

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

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

NBA executives reportedly believe the Los Angeles Lakers are the "most likely destination" for free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony.

On Tuesday, Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported Anthony showed "interest" in rejoining the New York Knicks, but that possibility faded when free-agent target Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury. With the Knicks' immediate future now less certain, joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis in L.A. is the top potential spot for Melo.

Anthony's NBA future hinges on his willingness to accept a lesser role and then finding a way to excel without playing 30-plus minutes per night.

In April 2018, he shot down the idea of coming off the bench, a stance that ultimately led to his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"I'm not sacrificing no bench role," he told reporters at the time. "So that's out of the question."

The 10-time All-Star selection received limited interest after taking a buyout from the Atlanta Hawks last summer. He eventually accepted a one-year contract from the Houston Rockets.

Anthony made just 10 appearances for the team and struggled while mostly coming off the bench, averaging 13.4 points per game while shooting 40.5 percent from the field.

He was traded to the Chicago Bulls in late January and then waived in early February before he ever suited up for the Bulls. He remained unsigned for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

Melo visited Madison Square Garden while awaiting his release from Chicago and was interviewed by the MSG Network during a game between the Knicks and Miami Heat.

"At this point, I just want to be happy," Anthony said. "I think I've put myself in a good, peaceful mind state right now, [being] able to focus in on what I need to focus in on. And whatever's going to make me happy, then we're going to make it happen."

The Lakers are going to spend the summer trying to find a third superstar to play alongside James and Davis. Anthony no longer fits the bill, so signing him probably falls much lower on the team's to-do list and will depend on L.A.'s cap space when the offseason dust settles.

Melo could be a weapon off the bench, especially since the Lakers will likely attempt to limit LeBron's minutes during the regular season after an injury-plagued campaign. But he'd also have to accept nights where he'd only play a handful of minutes.

Meanwhile, Anthony could have filled a similar role for the Knicks if they'd signed a healthy Durant. But the Golden State Warriors superstar could miss all of next season, so his free-agent outlook is less certain. And Melo wouldn't make much sense for a team focused on rebuilding and developing young players.

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