Carmelo Anthony has been linked to LeBron James and Los Angeles all season, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are reportedly “pausing talks on a possible contract agreement” with him.
According to the report, the Lakers will consider signing him only in the unlikely event that Los Angeles turns its season around and makes a playoff push — LA is 4.5 games behind San Antonio for the West’s No. 8 seed as of March 4. If the Lakers don’t, those minutes will be given to younger players.
At least that’s one way to read the situation. Another is the Lakers are so bad, so dysfunctional, that even a player as desperate for a new home as Anthony doesn’t want to go there.
Some fans are reading it that way.
There’s no way to know for sure. Anthony was connected to the Lakers ever since his Rockets career tanked. The connection was simple: LeBron James just signed there. Why not have the Lakers go after his good friend, too?
Anthony has not played in an NBA game since he shot 1-of-11 in the Houston Rockets’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 8. He was then exiled for two-and-a-half months before Houston traded him to Chicago, where he was eventually waived.
During that time, James injured his groin and missed 18 games. The Lakers lost 12 of those games, fell out of the playoff picture, and haven’t sniffed it since his return. It wouldn’t make much sense to sign Anthony if the Lakers are eliminated from playoff contention.
The buyout market has cooled significantly, with Wesley Matthews to Indiana and Enes Kanter to Portland as the biggest moves. Still, Anthony is a free agent. A former all-star and all-world scorer has no one who wants him to score for them.
Are there any options left for Anthony now?
The world may never know. Portland may have made sense, but the Blazers chose to sign Kanter. The Miami Heat were a hot rumor for awhile, but if they were interested, they would have signed Anthony already.
Other fringe playoff teams in the East, like Charlotte and Brooklyn, may be able to use an upgrade by adding a once-dominant isolation scorer. The Nets love reclamation projects, and Brooklyn is reeling and in need of a power forward.
Anthony hasn’t conformed to the way basketball is being played today, and it’s unclear what kind of shape he’s in. But if anyone deserves at least one more opportunity to show what he’s got, it’s Carmelo Anthony. The NBA is in a better place when he’s on the floor.
But if after all this time, Los Angeles really isn’t the home for Anthony — even with his friendship with the best player on the planet — then it raises the question: Does a home for Anthony actually exist?
The answer could be more sad than we thought.