When LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018, the career of Carmelo Anthony had become very unstable. After requesting a trade away from the New York Knicks, he found himself in unsuccessful stints with both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
It then took a full year before another team gave him a chance: the Portland Trail Blazers. Anthony’s time as a free agent was littered with rumors of him teaming up with James, as the two are half of the NBA’s most famous friend group.
At some points — especially when the Lakers were struggling during the 2018-19 season — it felt inevitable that Anthony would wind up in L.A. However, it never did, and Anthony became a Trail Blazer at the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
“I think everything happens for a reason and everything works its way out how it’s supposed to,” James said. “Obviously I would’ve loved for him to be a Laker at that point in time, but I’m not sitting here saying, ‘Damn, he’s supposed to be a Laker. He should be doing that for us.’
“No. Because what he’s doing for them was already written. If it was written for him to be a Laker, he would have been a Laker. Through the grace of God and the grace of him being patient and finding the right opportunity to succeed and be who he is, it landed him in Portland. There’s no envy for that. It’s only praise and excitement.
“I’m just grateful he’s back in the position where I knew he belonged. It’s pretty cool.”
James also broke down how Anthony fits with Portland and how he’s been able to accept that. “They’ve given him a role, he’s accepted the role and he’s flourished under it. He gets a lot of catch-and-shoot opportunities and he shoots the ball extremely well,” James said.
“When he gets smalls on him, he takes them to the post and uses his ability with his weight and footwork to exploit those matchups, and it’s worked well for them. It’s always fun and exciting to be on the same floor as one of your brothers, one of your best friends. That’s exciting for me.”
Even though NBA athletes are portrayed as larger than life celebrities, there is always a human element to friendships like these. In this case, James seems to be genuinely happy that his friend was able to get another opportunity to play the game he loves.
And while James and Anthony both may have wanted to end up on the Lakers together, James is right that all things happen for a reason, and it simply wasn’t meant to happen that way.
Lakers decided against signing Anthony despite James’ blessing
The Lakers had about a year’s worth of opportunities to sign Anthony, but decided against it for a number of reasons. L.A.’s front office has always known for allowing their star players to have a say in personnel decisions, and the Anthony situation was no different.
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