It was reported this past weekend by Yahoo’s Jordan Schultz that Carmelo Anthony is targeting the Lakers as his destination when he reaches NBA free agency. But Los Angeles acquiring Carmelo is entirely LeBron James’ call at this point. LeBron has always said that he wants to play with his Banana Boat buddy before his career is done and this would present the best opportunity, but given how far the former Knicks star’s game has regressed in recent years he just may not be worth the trouble for Los Angeles.
If the Lakers do offer Carmelo a deal, it will almost assuredly be a one-year contract. Los Angeles has signed multiple players to one-year deals already this offseason with the thought of targeting Kawhi Leonard in NBA free agency next summer. This is the safest route for the Lakers to land Leonard, as trying to acquire him now via trade would mean they’d have to give up young stud Brandon Ingram.
In place of Kawhi for at least a year could be Carmelo – who would give the Lakers some much needed shooting help.
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. Keep in mind too, that Carmelo owns a house in LA.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 7, 2018
The Celtics could potentially drive up the price for Carmelo if they express interest – something that wouldn’t be surprising given that this is the Lakers we’re talking about. Two years ago at the NBA trade deadline, the Celtics were exploring a Carmelo trade with the Knicks and these NBA trade rumors have popped up from time to time over the past few years.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens is said to be a fan of Anthony.
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“According to an NBA source, the Celtics coaching staff was in favor of trading for Anthony at the (2017) trade deadline, but general manager Danny Ainge had too many reservations,” the NY Post reported in April 2017. “One of Ainge’s concerns, according to a course, was an Anthony trade would have given Boston no real cap space to work with for the 2017 free agent class.”
Of course, circumstances with Carmelo and the Celtics have changed drastically since that time – particularly that Carmelo will not command nearly as much money now. The Celtics would likely have to pay the tax-payer mid-level to acquire Carmelo this summer.
In the end, expect Carmelo to land with the Lakers. But as Ainge typically does when a name veteran is available, he will at least inquire about his services.