Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James hopes his team can acquire longtime friend Carmelo Anthony, according to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon. Anthony, a 10-time All-Star and fellow member of the 2003 NBA Draft class, remains on the Houston Rockets' roster, but is no longer associated with the team after the two sides decided to part ways after just 10 games. Anthony, 34, is eligible to be traded on Dec. 15.
Taking a gamble on Anthony, a 16-year veteran who is a shell of his former self, does not seem worth it for the Lakers. They have won 11 of their past 14 contests and are finally starting to form an identity. Youngsters Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart are emerging into solid players and developing strong outside games. Veteran big men Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee are playing their best basketball in years, crashing the boards on both ends of the floor.
The Lakers would be well-advised to away from LeBron's pal, Anthony, who played downright atrocious in his short stay with Houston. In 294 minutes with Anthony on the floor, the Rockets were outscored by 63 points. The Rockets outscored other teams by 17 points in the 330 minutes he sat on the bench.
Anthony, a terrible defender his entire career, was not committed to the Rockets' defensive schemes. Opposing players shot 3.6 percent better with Anthony defending them on average.
Is James' loyalty to Anthony so strong that he would risk sabotaging the Lakers' season? Would he stick his neck out for a player who some league executives speculated has already played his final NBA game?
Let's not forget that Anthony is currently being paid $26.8 million by the Atlanta Hawks to not play for them after they bought his contract out. Assuming the Lakers and every other NBA team resists trading for Anthony, then the Rockets would be the second team this year to pay Anthony to not play for them, as Houston would owe him the remainder of his $2.4 million veteran's minimum contract.
Maybe James is just pretending that he wants the Lakers to acquire Anthony to show support for a friend. Maybe he truly knows the Lakers are way better off without Anthony and that his buddy isn't nearly the player he once was. Because it's pretty obvious for even the most casual of NBA fans to understand that Anthony, a likely Hall of Famer, is washed-up and not worth the risk.