Most seem convinced that the Houston Rockets will soon land Carmelo Anthony in free agency after he is bought out by the Thunder, but there are several reasons to believe the Lakers will still be players in the Carmelo sweepstakes according to the latest Carmelo Anthony Lakers Rockets NBA rumors.
When the news that Carmelo was going to be out of Oklahoma City came out, the Lakers were the first team linked to him because of the obvious LeBron James connection.
"Source close to Carmelo Anthony says the Lakers are one of Melo's preferred destinations, and that he's high on chance to finally play with LeBron," Jordan Schultz reported. "Keep in mind too that Carmelo owns a house in LA."
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported at the time that the Lakers would be at the front of the race to secure the scoring machine, who still averaged 16.2 points per game last season during an awkward season with the Thunder. Money should not be much of a factor in any Carmelo deal as all of his suitors will have nearly $5 million to offer.
One reason the Lakers may have been quiet on the Carmelo front this past week is that the Lakers brass is still worried about being slapped with tampering charges stemming from the Paul George incident over a year ago. Carmelo is, after all, still a member of the Thunder and Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti has been exploring trade possibilities with Carmelo in addition to a straight-up buyout.
There is still a train of thought around the NBA that LeBron could bring the best out of Carmelo, even as he is firmly entrenched in the twilight of his basketball career.
Carmelo Anthony Lakers Rockets NBA rumors: LA now the play?
LeBron was at the Lakers summer league game Sunday night but did not offer much of an update on his 2003 NBA Draft classmate. Still there is that quote from few years back that lingers every time one of the so-called "Banana Boat" boys becomes available.
"I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together," LeBron said in 2016. "At least one, maybe one or two seasons - me, Melo, D-Wade, CP - we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that."
One reason why this may not happen is that the Lakers already have a plethora of "small forwards" in LeBron, Lance Stephenson, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram (though he's a power forward in most's minds). Adding Carmelo to this logjam would surely end all Kawhi Leonard specualtion for this year, at least. This is all bringing Carmelo Anthony Lakers Rockets NBA rumors to a head.