This season has not been a good one for the Lakers, and in the last few days it has gone even further downhill with Magic Johnson stepping down and Luke Walton being fired and going to the Kings (why was Dave Joerger fired?).
A member of the 2004 NBA All-Rookie Team, a ten-time All-Star and a member of the 2013 All-NBA Team, Carmelo Anthony’s best years are behind him.
The 34-year-old forward has struggled to deal with his declining ability, but he did display flashes of his old self through his brief stints with Oklahoma and Houston. Anthony was the subject of blame for Oklahoma and Houston’s poor performances, serving as a scapegoat for both organisations.
Some encouraged Anthony to consider retirement, with Marc Stein suggesting Melo had already played his last game in the NBA. However, according to CBS Sports, many sources close to Melo have claimed that the veteran forward has several options regarding playing destinations for 2019 and will be signed to a team by the 7 February trade deadline.
Melo still believes he has lots to offer to whichever team he decides on, but what team would benefit most from adding Anthony to their roster?
In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols LeBron James said, “I think it would it be great to have Carmelo Anthony be on the Lakers”. James might be the ingredient needed to revitalise Melo’s game and potentially secure him as an invaluable scorer off the bench for the Lakers.
Melo desperately needs to improve his player efficiency rating, which has dropped to 12.7 when his previous career low was 16.7. Some teams may see him as more of a liability than a benefit, particularly on the defensive end, and considering his bleak performances for Oklahoma and less than impressive start at Houston, who could blame them?
Any team that might make a move for Melo need to be sure he will elevate the squad. The Lakers appear to be a favourite to land his services, especially if James can influence it.
It would seem that only teams that are contending and think he may prove to be the missing spark for them would bother pursuing the ageing forward. Organisations like the Nuggets, Pacers, 76ers, Trail Blazers or Heat may be interested if Melo could be an offensive threat to come off the bench.
All that said, potential landing spots for him would be taking a risk – not in what they might have to give for him, seeing as the Rockets are desperately trying to deal him, but in how he might change the locker-room dynamic.
Whichever team decides to take him, it would appear as though the Lakers are the most desperate of the contenders for his services. Without James they have gone 3-7 and look like a shadow of what they were when he was healthy. If the Lakers truly believe Melo could add an offensive spark to the side, expect to see him alongside James by 7 February.