LeBron James carries plenty of sway with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he could be using it to get the team to sign one of his oldest friends in the NBA.
As ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith speculated this week, LeBron may be pushing the Lakers to sign Carmelo Anthony to a deal that would help round out the roster and add an important scoring touch off the bench. Anthony has been stuck in NBA limbo since his exit from the Houston Rockets last season, but there have been increasing rumors that he could join the Lakers as the team looks to rapidly rebuild and move beyond the disappointing first season of the LeBron James era.
As Smith said this week, LeBron has already broached the topic of signing Carmelo.
“Now I happen to know that on several occasions LeBron James has spoken on behalf of Carmelo Anthony; I happen to know on at least one or two occasions the subject has been brought between LeBron and Carmelo Anthony,” he said, via Fadeaway World. “I think what we have to appreciate is that LeBron James is the iconic brand in the basketball world.”
Smith noted that Carmelo would have to accept a very different role with the Lakers, noting that outside of his role on the U.S. Men’s Team, Carmelo has always been his team’s No. 1 offensive option. If Carmelo did come back, he would be much deeper down in the rotation and said there are a lot of NBA executives who would rather not sign him at all then ask him to fit into a role he’s never played before.
Anthony himself has previously bristled at the idea of coming off the bench, but after almost a full season away from the NBA with not much interest in signing him, the former All-Star may need to accept a lesser role in order to find a new team.
There are other reports suggesting that LeBron James may be looking for a reunion with his longtime friend and on-court rival dating back to their high school days. As Complex noted, LeBron’s former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kendrick Perkins said recently that LeBron wanted the Cavs to sign Carmelo, but the team said no.
While it’s not clear if the Los Angeles Lakers are looking at Carmelo Anthony, the team will need to do more to fill out its frontcourt after the likely season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins. The Lakers have planned workouts with a number of players, including Dwight Howard.