There’s no way to sugarcoat it when talking about the outlook and current situation for Carmelo Anthony. Although he played just 10 games with the Houston Rockets this season, it’s apparent his tenure didn’t go the way the team hoped. This comes one offseason removed from what was arguably the worst season on Anthony’s career with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017-18.
Between the 78 games in Oklahoma City and 10 in Houston, the veteran forward has shot no better than 40.5 percent from the field in either year. He was logging the lowest number of minutes per game of his career, although that’s not all that surprising considering he’s played 1,064 total games over 16 years.
But from the sound of it, that mileage and even his potential conditioning may be playing a role in the interest level the Los Angeles Lakers have in adding him, as The Athletic’s Sam Amick revealed.
“Not only is it unclear how they would clear the roster spot to add Anthony, or if there’s a possible trade to be made there with the Rockets, but a source close to James said Anthony’s conditioning and the overall state of his game are considered key factors here in terms of convincing the Lakers to add the player who had the worst season of his career with the Thunder and wasn’t any better with the Rockets.”
As Amick points out, there are questions even beyond just the conditioning aspect, as the Lakers do have a full roster. Along with that, each piece is either capable of contributing now, is young with upside or is a potential trade asset for a bigger move.
Carmelo Anthony’s Struggles of Late
The fact that it took just 10 games for the Rockets to opt against keeping Anthony around the team, even with all the recent injuries, is a telling sign. He had averaged 13.4 points on 40.5 percent shooting and pulling down the second-fewest rebounds per game of his career with 5.4. Although it was a small sample size, the struggles went hand-in-hand with what fans saw from the 34-year-old the season prior.
While Anthony has an impressive resume, complete with 10 All-Star appearances, six All-NBA honors (two second-team, four third-team), he struggled to fit with the Thunder last season. Prior to this year, the 16.2 points per game he averaged were over 4.5 minutes less than the lowest of his career, which in the 2004-05 season with the Denver Nuggets.
Lakers’ Struggles to Find Roster Space
As Amick and The Athletic cited in the above story, the belief was that 21-year-old center Ivica Zubac could be the player who lost his roster spot if Anthony were signed. But considering how well he’s played of late, that seems unlikely. We’re less than 24 hours removed from a game in which Zubac poured in 26 points with 12 rebounds during an overtime road win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With the Lakers hoping to make a push for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis still, they need to hold all the young assets possible. Unfortunately for Anthony, that may mean that his chances of landing in Los Angeles are somewhat slim, barring something big happening.