Carmelo Anthony, 37, joins the Lakers on a one-year contract, adding a seasoned scoring presence that has scored over 27,000 points, 10 All-Star appearances and three Olympic gold medals – but has not yet appeared in the NBA -Final.
The long-rumored move was first reported by ESPN, but Anthony confirmed it himself on his social media accounts and superimposed an “L” from the Lakers on his “Melo” branding logo. It will bring together for the first time in their careers two of the biggest names and close friends of the iconic 2003 NBA draft – Anthony and LeBron James.
Anthony isn’t the only new signing announced early Tuesday afternoon: The Lakers also added Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk, 23, who averaged 11.7 points per game in his fourth season but Charlotte didn’t extended when his rookie deal expired.
Anthony is the biggest name to join the Lakers so far this off-season, despite being a fundamentally different player than his heyday. While James, who was picked two spots ahead of him in the draft, is still a franchise player for the Lakers just a year away from a Finals MVP, Anthony has been mostly a reserve for the Portland Trail Blazers for the past two seasons average 13.4 ppg when shooting 40.9% from 3 point range.
James and Anthony have been close since they were preparatory phenomena, touted as young prospects, viewed as rivals for size, then teammates on three Olympic teams and spending parts of the off-season together. James told Bleacher Report in 2016, « I really hope we can all play together before our careers are over. »
James said he was « open » to the possibility in 2018 during a season in which the Lakers ultimately missed the playoffs, but it didn’t materialize even though Anthony wasn’t signed at the time.
Anthony joins an aging roster that now includes eight players who are 32 or older. Center Marc Gasol confirmed his intention to return to Los Angeles late Monday night after Team USA eliminated their Spanish team from the Tokyo Olympics.
Monk will become one of the youngest players in the Lakers’ squad pending the possible return of 20-year-old restricted free agent Talen Horton-Tucker. The Kentucky product was the eleventh overall draft pick in the 2017 draft, shooting 40.1% three-way last season.
ESPN reported that the Lakers still have their mid-level taxpayer exemption valued at up to $ 5.9 million, but by Tuesday afternoon, some targets dried up with Utah forward Rudy Gay Jazz signed while the guard Patty Mills agreed to the Brooklyn Networks.
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Two players from last year’s roster moved on Tuesday: center Andre Drummond agreed to terms with the Philadelphia 76ers (effectively switching places with Lakers signatory Dwight Howard) and guard Ben McLemore agreed to a deal with Portland.
Several Lakers free agents are still in the air: Horton-Tucker, Dennis Schröder, Wesley Matthews, Markieff Morris and Jared Dudley.
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