Lakers News: Carmelo Anthony Talks Roster, Buddy Hield Trade Rumors, More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2021

Lakers News: Carmelo Anthony Talks Roster, Buddy Hield Trade Rumors, More

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers are going to have one of the most different-looking NBA rosters among contenders this coming season. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are still the centerpieces, but several new players now make up the supporting cast.

    L.A.'s overhaul began with the draft-day agreement with the Washington Wizards to acquire Russell Westbrook. While Westbrook may not be a perfect complement to James and Davis, he gives the Lakers a third superstar who can share regular-season minutes and potentially take over postseason games.

    Of course, Westbrook wasn't necessarily Los Angeles' first choice, and as fellow addition Carmelo Anthony recently pointed out, he isn't going to change the perception that L.A. is an aging team.

    While the Lakers may feel more like a 2015 All-Star squad than a 2021 contender, Anthony and other players believe that the new-look lineup is going to work.

Anthony Views Experience as an Asset

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    The Lakers feel a lot like a 2015 All-Star team because, well, James, Davis, Westbrook and Anthony were all All-Stars that season. This is an indication of how old Los Angeles' core group is in basketball years. While Davis is still only 28, James (36), Westbrook (32) and Anthony (37) are all on the over side of 30.

    However, Anthony doesn't view having an older roster as a detriment. Instead, he views the Lakers' collective experience as a championship asset.

    "I like when people talk about the age," Anthony said, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "It gives a better story. I think it gives a better story. I think people forget, at the end of the day, it's about basketball. You got to know how to play basketball. You got to have that experience. I think that's what we bring at this point and time. Our talent, our skill, but also our experience."

    When considering career arcs, the pairing of James and Anthony does make for a good story. Both were members of the 2003 draft class, and while they are longtime friends, they have never played for the same NBA franchise before now.

    In terms of pure talent, it's hard to argue with what Los Angeles has assembled. The question now is whether the team's core players—particularly James and Davis—can stay healthy deep into the postseason.

James Reportedly Preferred Westbrook over Hield

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    One could argue that Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield would have been a better complementary option than Westbrook. Hield who shot 40.6 percent from beyond the arc last season, is a better perimeter shooter who could have thrived with James and Davis on the interior.

    To some degree, the Lakers must have felt this way, as a deal to acquire Hield was very close to being done.

    "A deal to send Hield to the Lakers for [Montrezl] Harrell and [Kyle] Kuzma seemed all but certain, until it wasn't," The Athletic's Jason Jones wrote. " ... League sources said all the players involved in the much-discussed Lakers-Kings deal expected that trade to happen."

    James, however, reportedly didn't feel the same way.

    "My reporting (is) that certainly LeBron James was in favor of this Russ move over the Buddy Hield move," McMenamintold The Lowe Post podcast (h/t Jacob Rude of Silver Screen and Roll).

    While it's unclear exactly what James prefers about Westbrook, logic suggests that it's his superstar scoring prowess.

    While Hield might better complement James and Davis on the floor, Westbrook—who averaged 22.2 points and 11.7 assists last season—gives L.A. an offensive centerpiece for the moments when James and/or Davis is not on the floor.

Not 'That Hard' for Nunn to Take Less Money in Los Angeles

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    While the Lakers didn't land Hield, they did add a solid support shooter in Kendrick Nunn. The former Miami Heat standout—who averaged 14.6 points while shooting 38.1 percent from three-point range last season—joined L.A. on a modest two-year, $10.25 million deal.

    According to Nunn, signing a bargain contract with the Lakers was not a tough choice.

    "It wasn't that hard, to be honest. I'm a guy that knows how to sacrifice for the better of the team," Nunn said, per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll.

    For Nunn, a chance to compete with L.A.'s new-look roster was far more appealing than a massive contract.

    "Just that chance to go out there and win a ring. A good chance, a great chance to win a ring," Nunn said, per Faigen. "I wanted to be in that position again and also just to help my teammates and learn from them.

    Given the experience Los Angeles has on its roster, Nunn is going to have plenty of opportunities to learn over the next two years.