The trade rumors surrounding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have certainly slowed the free agent market, especially for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team is taking its time as it tries to land Irving in a trade, but momentum appears to point toward the Lakers eventually landing him.
The Lakers signed several players last week to get younger and to improve the defense, but it could be time to look at a player from last season’s squad who contributed to the team’s scoring. Carmelo Anthony, a 10-time All-Star free agent, should re-sign with the Lakers, wrote Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz in a column published July 3.
At 38 years old, Anthony is not necessarily a defensive force at this point, but he proved last year he can still make shots, hitting 37.5% of his 3-pointers and averaging 13.3 points a game.
“As tempting as going back to New York may be for nostalgic reasons, the Lakers are a better basketball fit,” Swartz wrote, referring to Anthony’s six-plus seasons (2011-2017) with the Knicks. “They can offer Anthony a bigger role, given that the Knicks have Julius Randle and Obi Toppin already filling the power forward spot.
“There’s also the all-time scoring list to think about, as Anthony sits just 307 points behind Shaquille O’Neal for eighth place and 1,711 points from hitting 30,000 career points. If he wants any chance of moving up higher (Wilt Chamberlain is still 3,130 points ahead in seventh), he’ll need another few years in a role like he played this past season.”
Swartz also noted the speculation regarding an Irving trade to LA.
“Anthony gets to spend at least one more year with LeBron James by staying in Los Angeles, and the Lakers could actually be a contender again if they can somehow get Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris or Seth Curry from the Brooklyn Nets,” Swartz wrote.
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Could Anthony End Up Back in New York?
Anthony got to play with his close friend LeBron James last season, but the team was a massive disappointment, finishing 33-49 and missing the playoffs.
Some have speculated that Anthony could be eyeing the end of his career and that a return home to his native New York City would make sense. However, in March, Anthony indicated to the Orange County Register that he had plenty of basketball left in him.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, Anthony’s returning to the Knicks is not “off the table.”
A return to the Knicks, however, probably would do little fill a glaring accolade that’s missing from his resume.
Why Lakers Make More Sense Than Knicks
Anthony hasn’t won a championship yet.
Though the idea of Anthony returning to the Knicks is romantic, the team isn’t sniffing a championship anytime soon. They’ve missed the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons and compiled a winning record only once in that span. Meanwhile, the Lakers still have a championship-caliber nucleus of James and Anthony Davis.
And unlike the best teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, the Knicks are still without a superstar. Adding Anthony wouldn’t change that.
Even after their disastrous season, the Lakers are far closer to the NBA Finals than the Knicks are. And they’d be even closer with the addition of Irving. Getting a ring to finish his career would feel a lot better than an early playoff exit in New Yotk.
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