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LeBron James would like to get Carmelo Anthony to Los Angeles with him on the Lakers, a league source told The Athletic. Anthony, 34, is estranged from the Houston Rockets – still on their payroll for the league-minimum $2.4 million but gone from the team after the two sides decided he was not a fit after just 10 games. He can’t be traded until at least Dec. 15, and sources said there had been no request made by James to Lakers president Magic Johnson or general manager Rob Pelinka to make a deal for his friend. Nor would there be.
But James and his camp still believe Anthony can play, that there could be a place for him as a contributor on a Lakers’ team that is young and continues to battle injuries. Brandon Ingram is the latest casualty. His sprained left ankle will keep him for at least the next two games.
In the coming days, it will become clear if any market still exists for Anthony, whether it’s L.A. or elsewhere. Multiple league executives questioned it to The Athletic. “Not really, no,” said one rival exec, granted anonymity to discuss the Lakers’ situation. “If LeBron really wants him, it might not matter. Magic should fight him on it. I know I would.”
James was asked “Carmelo and Lakers. Thoughts?”, and he, well, gave his thoughts (via Spectrum Sportsnet): “I have no idea to be honest. That’s not a question to ask me. Right now we have 15 roster spots right? We don’t even have a roster spot open right now. But that’s not a question for myself.”
The Los Angeles Lakers have been widely mentioned as a chief rival to the Rockets once Anthony actually becomes a free agent, largely because the Lakers’ new face of the franchise is Melo’s close friend LeBron James. But it’s been suggested to me — strongly — that the Lakers’ interest is overstated. The Miami Heat have been mentioned, too, which is understandable given that the Heat patriarch Pat Riley has been known to happily gamble on a big name in need of some image rehab. As of Tuesday morning, though, Houston was the unquestioned frontrunner for the former New York Knick.
Unlike Thomas, Anthony will have suitors. Three of them, at least: the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. The guess here, after speaking to people this weekend, is that the decision is between Houston or Los Angeles. Either would be a fascinating situation.
Jordan Schultz: Source close to Carmelo Anthony says the #Lakers are one of Melo’s preferred destinations, and that he’s high on chance to finally play with #LeBron. Keep in mind too, that Carmelo owns a house in LA.
Albert Nahmad: Lakers, Rockets and Heat are expected to have interest in Carmelo Anthony, per @Adrian Wojnarowski. All have roughly same amount to offer – anywhere from $2.4M minimum salary to around $5M, which in turn could be the range of a potential buyout with OKC if he were to have mutual interest.
Jovan Buha: Carmelo Anthony on if he’s thought about playing in Los Angeles: “No, no. I haven’t thought about it. I mean there was an opportunity during the deadline, and there was always talk over the past couple seasons with me somehow being connected to the Clippers or Lakers. At first it was the Lakers, and then now it’s the Clippers situation. So I try not to think about that, especially now when I’m still playing with the New York Knicks. I’ve got to go out there and prepare to play against these guys and other teams.”
And the Los Angeles Lakers are no longer in the kowtowing-to-the-aging-superstar business.
Charley Rosen: Since Melo has been mostly shooting blanks in the clutch — he was scoreless in the fourth quarter last night — it’s really a dead stop. Also, while he’s never been accused of playing defense, Anthony is intent on saving even more steps on this end of the game to conserve his energy for offense. He’s four months away from his 33rd birthday, his contract is humongous and contains a no-trade clause. It’s understood that he’d only accept being dealt to the Cavaliers or the Clippers. However, since his recurring complaint is that everybody blames him for every game the Knicks lose, perhaps Melo is sufficiently disgusted to accept a trade elsewhere. Perhaps to the young, rebuilding Lakers — after all, his wife’s name is La La.
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December 12, 2018 | 3:57 am EST Update
The Clippers, it seems, closely watch every Raptors and Warriors game this season. Even though they are having a terrific season of their own — experiencing the rare joy of expectation-free success in the NBA — the Clippers are rather transparently obsessed with chasing Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant in free agency next summer.
But even by these modern standards, the Clippers’ pursuit is still a little revolutionary. Raptors officials have noticed a Clippers employee at roughly 75 percent of the team’s games thus far this season. That has included president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, which is rare. Presidents and general managers are almost never seen attending a game that doesn’t involve their teams.
Tobias Harris, the centerpiece of the Griffin trade, might be headed to his first All-Star Game and has been so valuable that some executives think they should use one of their max slots on him. The reviews for rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who the Clippers semi-hid by promising him they’d draft him in the lottery, and he at least partially shut down workouts, have been excellent.
On Saturday Dinwiddie became eligible for a four-year contract extension worth a maximum of $47.5 million. But despite being the poster child for the Nets’ much-hyped player development (he was a finalist for last season’s NBA Most Improved Player Award), Dinwiddie still does not have an extension. “No news. Nothing to report,” Dinwiddie’s agent, Raymond Brothers, said. “Dec. 8, it came, it’s gone. I don’t have an extension,” said Dinwiddie, 25. “Just let Raymond and [Nets general manager] Sean [Marks] talk about it. I already said what I needed to say.”
One NBA source proclaimed surprise the Nets didn’t offer Dinwiddie an extension, and at least three others suggested he would be worth more in the unrestricted free-agent market next summer, when a number of teams should be flush with cash. So, by all accounts, he is offering the Nets a hometown discount.
Dinwiddie also has been linked with the point guard-needy Suns. Phoenix now reportedly is looking at a three-way deal that would send Trevor Ariza to the Lakers and ship Los Angeles’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a third team in order to get them their guard.