NBA Rumors: Sixers Connected to Lakers All-Star Free Agent

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony

Getty Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates his three pointer with LeBron James #6.

When Carmelo Anthony posted photos of him putting in “hard work” on July 1, it got the gears cranking on the future Hall of Famer’s future. The 38-year-old forward isn’t ready to retire. And teams are no doubt calling his phone.

Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and one-time scoring champion who embraced a bench role last season for the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 13.3 points per game while shooting 37.5% from three-point land. Those stats came during an incredibly frustrating year in Hollywood, one that saw the Lakers miss the playoffs amid reports of in-fighting.

There are talks that the Lakers are interested in bringing Anthony back for the 2022-23 campaign. It makes sense considering his tight friendship with LeBron James. But the East Coast native – Baltimore, by way of Brooklyn – might relish a chance to return closer to home and join a Philadelphia 76ers team focused on winning a championship. Anthony would be an ideal fit alongside Joel Embiid and James Harden as a lights-out shooter to help space the floor.

Meanwhile, an informal Twitter poll (via @mrcrockpot) showed that 68.7% of Sixers fans would welcome Anthony to Philly with open arms. And the team has an extra roster spot for him. But, would Anthony’s personality gel with the current roster?

Anthony and Harden were brief teammates on the Houston Rockets in 2019 – that experiment lasted only 10 games – but that divorce appeared to be amicable. It was more a product of Anthony not fitting into Mike D’Antoni’s system than any kind of personality clash – at least that is what everyone put out there publicly.

“Melo is one of the best to ever hoop. He loves the game of basketball,” Harden said at the time, via Bleacher Report. “Some guys just do it just because they’re gifted or they’re athletic or they can shoot the basketball. There’s not that many players that like, love to hoop. … It kind of sucks that it didn’t work out.”

Added bonus of Anthony moving to Philly: he would have easier access for quick trips up to Queens, New York to watch his son Kiyan play high school hoops at Christ the King.

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Does Anthony Have Animosity About Philly Fans?

The elephant in the room on Anthony signing with the Sixers might be the Philly faithful. The former Laker confronted a fan last year at Wells Fargo Center when the man repeatedly referred to him as “boy” from a courtside seat. The Sixers conducted an investigation and determined the fan was in violation of the NBA’s code of conduct. He was ejected from that game and banned from all future events at the arena.

A few days later, Anthony addressed the situation in a respectful and diplomatic manner. However, the incident probably left a bad taste in his mouth. And it might prevent him from signing in Philly.

NBA Insider Says Sixers Aren’t Title Contenders

CBS Sports’ Zach Gelb doesn’t care how much money Harden left on the table to return to the Sixers on a two-year, $68.6 million deal. He doesn’t believe Harden can knock down clutch shots in the postseason. He’s not the Black Mamba-style killer needed to complement Embiid. Here’s what Gelb said on CBS Sports Radio:

Joel Embiid is a great player but as we’ve seen in previous playoff series against Boston and Atlanta, he needs a finisher. Problem not solved is James Harden is back in Philly on a two-year deal. It’s not surprising that Daryl Morey kept his BFF, but don’t expect Philly to win a title anytime soon because they’re relying on Harden to make clutch shots and we know James disappears in a big spot like D.B. Cooper.

Editor’s note: D.B. Cooper was a mythical hijacker who parachuted out of plane bound for Mexico City in 1971 after securing a bag of stolen cash. He was never seen or heard from again.

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