Ever since LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers, many thought he would do whatever it took to get Carmelo Anthony to the purple and gold.
Anthony had been a free agent for almost all of the 2018-19 NBA season and even when the Lakers were at their worst, they never looked at signing him to a deal.
This led to growing doubt that Anthony would ever get another NBA deal as his skillset no longer matched what he felt his role should be on a roster. However, this changed when the Portland Trail Blazers got off to an unexpectedly bad start to the season, starting off 5-9 and needing to make some type of move. They signed Anthony to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, similar to Dwight Howard’s.
After the signing, James was recently asked about if there was ever a doubt Anthony would get picked up. James responded with some honesty, according to Mark Medina of USA Today:
“I think everyone had doubt, including himself, probably,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said Friday. “As the time goes on and on and on, you see yourself getting further and further away from it. But I always hoped that he would get an opportunity.”
James also said that he had hoped the Lakers would’ve taken a chance on Anthony when their injuries were piling up last season, but that he’s just happy for his friend:
“I hoped that opportunity presented itself as well when we had our injuries,” said James, who sat 27 games last season while recovering from a strained groin. “I was hoping he was going to be a part of (what we have) here and it didn’t happen for whatever reason. But I’m happy that he has an opportunity to go back and play the game that the loves to play and do it at this level.”
This quote makes it seem like James wanted the Lakers to sign him, but that general manager Rob Pelinka and the front office refused to make it happen. Obviously, things worked out for both parties as the Lakers have a great roster and Anthony is with the Blazers, but it is an interesting hypothetical.
Anthony likely would not have changed anything about the outcome of last season’s Lakers team, which is probably the reason they didn’t take the risk.
Anthony will get a real chance now to contribute to a team that desperately needs him.