Lakers Rumors: Carmelo Anthony Was Expected to Sign with LAL Last Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2019

Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after scoring a three-point basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony has yet to find a new NBA team after sitting out most of last season, but there was a strong belief that Melo was bound to join the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2018-19 campaign.

According to ESPN's Baxter Holmes, a source said he expected Anthony to join the Lakers midseason, but that never came to pass.

Holmes also reported that the Miami Heat were interested in Anthony before he joined the Houston Rockets last season, although it is unclear if that interest persists.

Since Anthony and James are buddies, Melo has long been linked to LeBron-led teams dating back to James' time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There were constant whispers last season that the Lakers would bring in Melo after the Rockets parted ways with him in January. Even with L.A. struggling and missing the playoffs for a sixth consecutive campaign, it never made good on the rumors.

With center DeMarcus Cousins set to miss the entire 2019-20 season with a torn ACL, it would be easy for the Lakers to create a roster spot for Anthony should they revisit the possibility.

Beyond a starting group that includes James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green and Rajon Rondo, there are some questions regarding L.A.'s firepower. The likes of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels can shoot the three, but none of them boasts a resume quite like Melo's.

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The 35-year-old Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and likely future Hall of Famer who boasts career averages of 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game over 16 NBA seasons.

Anthony was a superstar during his stints with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks, but the past two campaigns have been a struggle.

Melo averaged just 16.2 points per game in 2017-18 with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and coming off the bench seemingly didn't suit him with the Rockets last year, as he averaged 13.4 points in 10 contests before Houston pulled the plug on the experiment.

If Anthony is going to catch on anywhere, a veteran-laden team like the Lakers makes sense. Melo could likely find a comfort level alongside James, Davis, Rondo, Green and other experienced players, and he wouldn't be asked to produce beyond his means.

Melo admittedly hasn't enjoyed much playoff success during his career, but he is a three-time Olympic gold medalist (2008, 2012, 2016) and drew rave reviews for his leadership ability on those United States Olympic teams.

At worst, Anthony could be a mentor for Kuzma, who has some similar traits and could provide the Lakers with a significant boost if he develops into a true star alongside LeBron and AD.

Anthony clearly isn't an elite offensive player capable of vying for scoring titles any longer, but given all he has done in his career, there is value in having him on the roster in a limited role.