Carmelo Anthony could have another chance in the NBA, and new rumors indicate it’s his longtime friend, LeBron James, helping find a new landing spot.
Anthony has been stuck in basketball limbo after he was placed on the inactive list by the Houston Rockets, with no clear path forward and no team standing out as a suitor for him. But a new report from The Athletic claims that LeBron wants the Lakers to go after Carmelo when he becomes eligible for a trade on December 15.
It’s not clear how much substance there might be to this NBA rumor, as the report noted that LeBron James has yet to speak to team president Magic Johnson about his desire to bring Carmelo on board. The move would not be without precedent, however, as LeBron has found a soft spot for his longtime friends and often pushed management of the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign the players he wanted to surround him.
As the New York Post noted, Carmelo and LeBron have been very close and even vacationed together along with their other NBA friends, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade.
But Carmelo Anthony has been on a sharp decline for the past two years, posting the lowest point totals of his career and seeing his player efficiency rating drop. His PER, a measurement of all-around efficiency, has dropped to 11.3 this season, the lowest mark of his career and putting him tied for 233rd in the NBA.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said Carmelo was a bad fit for Houston’s defensive scheme, and put the blame on himself for the signing.
“But in terms of like how things evolved for us and our heavy use of the switching defense…that was one thing that wasn’t a perfect fit,” Morey said, via Def Pen.
Morey added that he was confident Carmelo Anthony would eventually find a new home in the NBA.
“He’s a very talented player, like super skilled at a lot of things. Especially the ability to shoot and honestly the ability to get his shot off against multiple looks and situations. He’s also been in a lot of really big games.”
It is not clear what role Carmelo Anthony would play if he were to join LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the past, Anthony scoffed at the idea of coming off the bench, but there would be no guarantee that he could crack the starting five for the Lakers.