The Lakers have their big three. While we can debate how much Russell Westbrook helps LeBron James and Anthony Davis come the playoffs, there is no question the Lakers are again a serious threat to come out of the West and push for another banner.
A lot of quality veteran players may be willing to take a little less to chase a ring with LeBron. Carmelo Anthony tops the list of veterans interested in the Lakers, according to multiple reports.
#Lakers are “very interested” in the prospect of signing Carmelo Anthony, per a league source. Melo has been linked to the Lakers as a possibility, given his friendship w/LeBron dating back to high school. Anthony drilled a career-best 40.9 percent from 3 last season w/Portland.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 31, 2021
With Westbrook now headed to Los Angeles, multiple league personnel contacted by B/R expect there to be significant interest from several veterans, including DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and Carmelo Anthony, to forgo higher salary opportunities elsewhere and join the Lakers in pursuit of a championship.
It goes without saying LeBron and Carmelo Anthony are close going back to high school, and the Lakers certainly bend over backward to make LeBron happy. Anthony averaged 13.4 points a game last season for the Trail Blazers, the team he joined a couple of years ago and where he revived his career by accepting a role off the bench.
Bringing in ‘Melo would be a lot like bringing in Westbrook in the sense it could help during the regular season but be problematic during the playoffs. Anthony has become a solid spot-up shooter — the Lakers are desperate for shooting — and he can still create a little. He remains one of the best tough shot makers in the game. All those skills help give the Lakers depth in the first 82 games, the regular season.
Anthony’s defense and lack of lateral mobility at this point in his career will see him played off the floor in the playoffs, opposing teams will attack him with the pick-and-roll. Especially in the second round of the postseason and beyond, when there will only be elite teams left in the stacked West. Defense has been the Lakers’ identity the past couple of years, it’s what won them a ring, and this offseason they are adding minus defenders, and ‘Melo would be in that camp.
The Lakers would need to use their mid-level exception to bring DeRozan in — and even that is unlikely, DeRozan made $27.7 million last season, averaged 21.6 points a game, and will have teams offering eight figures for him (keep an eye on Dallas) — but he would provide buckets and some shot creation. Gay also could be a solid pickup for the veteran minimum.
Look to hear a lot of veteran names coming to Los Angeles this offseason. LeBron and the chance at a ring are a genuine draw.