After acquiring Paul George from the Indian Pacers, the Oklahoma City Thunder looked to form a big three by trading for Carmelo Anthony. But playing alongside George and Russell Westbrook didn’t exactly pan out as the Thunder had hoped.
There numerous occasions where Anthony didn’t quite appear to fit with the Thunder, and he made it clear a role off the bench was not of interest to him. Upon re-signing George in free agency this past summer, the Thunder traded Anthony to the Atlanta Hawks.
He was immediately bought out of his contract and proceeded to sign with the Houston Rockets. That pairing lasted all of 13 games into the season, with Anthony appearing in 10 of them. He remains on the Rockets roster but is not with the team.
Speculation has run rampant as Anthony’s next step and future remains unclear. Some have tied him to the Los Angeles Lakers because of their prior interest and his close friendship with LeBron James.
When asked if Anthony could be bound for L.A., James deflected the question toward the Lakers front office, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I have no idea. To be honest, that’s not a question to ask me. Right now we have 15 (full) roster spots. We don’t even have a roster spot open right now. But that’s not a question for myself.”
As James notes, the Lakers don’t currently have an open roster spot after signing Tyson Chandler once he was bought out by the Phoenix Suns and cleared waivers. Because he just signed with the Rockets this past summer, any trade involving Anthony cannot take place until Dec. 15.
Anthony’s decline on defense and insistence on remaining a starter would appear to limit his options, and all but eliminate the Lakers. Though, Shaquille O’Neal believes they would actually be the right fit because of James’ understanding of how Anthony prefers to play.