The Los Angeles Lakers will need to land and retain some key pieces in free agency if they plan to repeat as champions and future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony could be a big addition the team eyes for the rotation this offseason.
Anthony will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and was listed as a “realistic” target for the Lakers once the transaction window opens by Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz. He wrote that Anthony’s experience and scoring ability would make him a terrific sixth-man for the Lakers and he likely would not cost much. He played on the veteran’s minimum last season in Portland, and has made close to $250 million in his career overall.
Anthony is fresh off a redemption season with the Portland Trail Blazers where he started all 58 games he played, averaging 15.4 points and 6.3 assists on a squad that featured Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as the primary scorers. He also hit some massively clutch shots down the stretch as Portland secured the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
Carmelo Anthony Wants to Add Championship to Resume
Anthony went a full year without being on an NBA roster before signing with the Blazers, but has proven he still belongs at the top level of the sport.
Anthony carries a resume few can stack up with. He’s a 10-time NBA All-Star, has been named to an All-NBA team six times and is a former scoring champion. He also has won three Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012, 2016) and one bronze medal (2004). But the one thing that’s missing is a championship ring, which he is much more likely to win in LA with his good friend LeBron James than in Portland with the Trail Blazers. The Lakers opened at +375 to repeat while the Blazers are a +3,000 longshot.
That being said, Anthony told reporters after the Blazers were bounced from the bubble at the hands of the Lakers that he would like to be back in Portland next season.
“I pray that it can be Portland,” Anthony said of his pending free agency. “Honestly, I think I’ve found a home in Portland. I got comfortable with the organization, I got comfortable with the guys on the team, they got comfortable with me, and at this point in my career I do think that that’s the best fit for me, the best situation, especially having this experience now and kind of just getting my feet wet and just coming in and being who I am and staying true to myself. I really hope that it can be Portland at the end of the day where we give ourselves a chance to keep this team together, get guys healthy, and get another run at it.”
Other Lakers ‘Realistic’ Landing Spots
Beyond signing new faces, the Lakers have a lot of work to do if they want to run it back next season with even a similar roster. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($8.5 million), Avery Bradley ($5 million), JaVale McGee ($4.2 million) and Rajon Rondo ($2.7 million) all have players options to officially make decisions on, and Dwight Howard is an unrestricted free agent after playing a solid role off the bench for the Lakers.
Bleacher Report sees Bradley as a realistic option for the Mavericks on the mid-level exception, while Howard and Rondo could find homes with Utah and Memphis, respectively.