Carmelo Anthony 'One Thousand Percent' Wants to Play with LeBron James

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 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

As Carmelo Anthony looks for the opportunity to continue his NBA career, he would "1,000 percent" welcome the opportunity to play alongside good friend LeBron James.

Anthony told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on Friday's First Take that teaming up with James would be the culmination of a discussion years in the making:

"One thousand percent. We've talked about it since we were 18, 19 years old.

"We reached out to a lot of people. The Lakers has been one of them. The Clippers has been one of them. We reaching out, we talking, it's dialogues with certain teams. I don't want to get into specifics, but there's conversations."

The 2012-13 NBA scoring champ added that winning a championship is still a goal for him, though he would want to join a team that gives him the opportunity to truly play.

James and Anthony entered the league together in 2003. James went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Anthony was drafted third by the Denver Nuggets. Chris Bosh (No. 4) and Dwyane Wade (No. 5) were also part of that historic draft class.

As Bleacher Report's Howard Beck previously wrote, James talked to Wade and Anthony in the summer of 2006 about signing three-year extensions with their respective clubs rather than five-year deals, which would put them all in line to hit free agency in 2010. While James and Wade did in fact go the three-year route, Anthony re-upped with the Nuggets for five years, as he envisioned staying in Denver.

As a result, Anthony remained under contract when James and Wade became free agents in 2010. The two wound up forming a Big Three in Miami with Bosh, resulting in four NBA Finals appearances and two championships. Anthony requested a trade to the New York Knicks in 2011 and has yet to reach the Finals in his 16-year career.

The 35-year-old said Friday that "immaturity" played a role in his decision not to follow James and Wade's lead. He said 22-year-old Melo did not understand from a business standpoint why he would leave two years of guaranteed money on the table and noted that he was "naive" after coming from the streets.

Now, the 10-time All-Star is just looking for a chance to prove he can still play.

ESPN @espn

"I felt like the game didn’t love me back at that point. … Now, I love the game too much to be away from it." –Carmelo Anthony on his free agency (via @FirstTake) https://t.co/rCXr0ZBu5z

When asked in November about the Lakers' potentially acquiring Anthony following his Rockets tenure, James declined to publicly comment on the matter:

James told Rachel Nichols of ESPN in December, though, that "it would be great to have Carmelo Anthony be on the Lakers." That comment did not result in Anthony's taking his talents to Hollywood.