Carmelo Anthony works out with Nets players in Los Angeles, per report; unclear if Brooklyn wants to sign veteran forward
Melo is still an unsigned free agent, but is still respected by his fellow players
Carmelo Anthony wants to play in the NBA next season, and though he hasn't found a team willing to sign him to a contract yet, he has found a group of players willing to at least work out with him. According to Ian Begley and Anthony Puccio of SNY, Anthony is participating in informal workouts with the Brooklyn Nets in Los Angeles. It is unknown at this time if the Nets are interested in signing Anthony.
Caris LeVert revealed on ESPN that the workouts were organized by Kyrie Irving, who played with Anthony for Team USA. Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan were also teammates of Anthony's in the 2016 Olympics, so the Nets have plenty of insight into how he might fit onto their roster.
With Durant expected to miss the season while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, the Nets would make sense as a theoretical fit for Anthony stylistically. While Anthony cannot match Durant's efficiency or workload, having him on the offense now as a stretch-four who can isolate might help them adjust to integrating Durant next season. Anthony already lives in New York and could help take some of the spotlight off Irving as he temporarily holds the title of team leader.
The downside, of course, comes on defense. The Nets were ranked 15th on that end of the floor last season, but their moves this summer have been based primarily on offense. Top perimeter defenders DeMarre Carroll and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were replaced with offensive-minded forwards like Taurean Prince and Wilson Chandler. Adding Anthony into the mix would make things even harder on defense.
And at the moment, signing him would not even be possible. Brooklyn currently has 15 players signed to guaranteed contracts. That is the NBA's maximum, though roster sizes can expand in the offseason. Signing Anthony would mean waiving a player currently on the team, someone whose salary is guaranteed either way. Even big-market teams loathe paying players not to play for them, and that is what adding Anthony would take.
Anthony's representatives have reached out to a number of NBA teams, and while the Nets may not be among them, there is a degree of irony in him pushing for Brooklyn at this stage of his career. In 2011, the Nets tried to trade for Anthony with the goal of extending his contract and making him the face of the team when they moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Anthony pushed back and eventually landed with his preferred New York Knicks.
Now the tables have turned. The Nets are a very desirable destination, and Anthony doesn't have the leverage to be picky about where he plays. He hasn't been this offseason, making it perfectly clear that he is willing to sign with any team that will have him, even if that means taking on a smaller role. That may not be enough to get him a job, but if Anthony can prove himself to Brooklyn's players in these workouts, he might at least gain some allies in his pursuit of employment.
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