LeBron James and his camp want Carmelo Anthony to fill the Los Angeles Lakers 15th roster spot.
But will he join?
“LeBron’s camp is insisting on the front office signing Melo,” a league source with knowledge of the Lakers told me via text message this afternoon.
“But the team wants to go in a different direction.”
Sounds about right.
So will Carmelo Anthony sign with the Los Angeles Lakers? It depends on who you ask.
The Lakers purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019 where several NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan are expected to become unrestricted free agents.
In the meantime, Lakers are filling in gaps to prepare for the highly regarded summer of 2019.
“Carmelo Anthony would’ve been the Lakers top buyout target had they depleted their roster in an Anthony Davis trade,” another league source shared with me recently.
“Now that the Lakers brought in Bullock & Muscala, Melo isn’t as much of a top priority as before.”
So what’s next?
“When the time is right he will speak out,” a source close to Carmelo Anthony told me via e-mail last month.
Well, he did.
In an interview with Taryn Finley of the Huffington Post on Friday, Melo suggested he is at peace with the fact he may not play much longer:
“I’m sure [retirement is] coming soon. I’d be sitting lying to you if I said it’s not coming soon. I think I want it to come soon. I don’t think I want to do this forever, but because you love it so much, it’s hard to give it up. At the end of the day, at anything you do, when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. But as long as you feel good with that.”
A 10-time NBA All-Star, Anthony signed with the Houston Rockets this summer after clearing waivers in a trade that shipped him from the Oklahoma City Thunder the Atlanta Hawks.
The third overall pick in the 2003 draft, Anthony’s last appearance with the Houston Rockets came in a blowout loss to Oklahoma City on Nov. 8 when he had two points and five rebounds.
NBA analyst Chris Sheridan chatted with me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast in December and said something happened between the team that “they don’t want out yet.”
“Still trying to figure that out,” Sheridan said via Scoop B Radio.
“I was in the arena at San Antonio the night he disappeared. They were saying he’s out with the flu. And it actually was a flu bug going around the team. The coach stated that James Harden was sniffling and Chris Paul was too. So there really was a flu bug going around during that game.”
“Melo is still an option (being Lebron’s friend) as a veteran whose experience may be valuable in the playoffs,” a league source shared with me via text message last month.
“But the Lakers will take a good look at who’s become available after buyouts.”
Zach Randolph is also a viable option for the Lakers.
“I bumped into Zach Randolph at the gym in LA and he was in Lakers sweat suit,” an NFL player told me via text message last week.
Earlier this month, Randolph, 37, was part of the trade that shipped Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings. The actual trade, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, included Randolph and Justin Jackson to the Mavericks in exchange for Harrison Barne
Per CBS: The Mavericks most likely agreed to take Randolph back in the deal for salary-matching purposes, as Jackson, a 2017 first-round pick, looks to be the main target here.
Randolph was bought out by the Mavericks shortly after the Barnes trade.
After striking out on acquiring Anthony Davis at the NBA trade deadline, Randolph could be a viable option.
In 17 seasons, Randolph has posted 6.6 points and 9.1 rebounds with five teams. Randolph has been out of the rotation all season in Sacramento, not even logging a single minute of run.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been deliberate in watching their cap space all season.
LA added savvy veterans like Tyson Chandler into the fold along with Michael Beasley and Rajon Rondo during the offseason. Beasley has since been traded, waived and signed with a team in China.