Will Carmelo Anthony return to the NBA next season? That's still up in the air after his abbreviated season with the Houston Rockets, but if he does come back, league executives reportedly believe it will be with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ahead of free agency opening up on Sunday, Ian Begley reported that the Lakers are expected to be the most likely landing spot for the veteran forward. Via SNY:
Let's get this out of the way at the top: things can always change, but most executives monitoring Anthony's free agency see the Lakers as the most likely destination for the 10-time All Star.
There may have been interest from New York in a reunion with Anthony if they had a roster with multiple stars ready to win immediately. But with Durant injured and the odds against the Knicks building that kind of team this summer, bringing Anthony back is not currently part of the team's thinking.
Anthony was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks last season in a move to clear cap space, then signed with the Rockets after the Hawks waived him. However, his tenure in Houston lasted just 10 disappointing games, as both he and the team struggled to start the season.
He ended up becoming the scapegoat, and they sent him away from the team with what they first termed as an "illness." They kept him on the books until the trade deadline, though, when they sent him to the Chicago Bulls in another cap-clearing move.
Now 35 years old, it's become quite obvious over the past few seasons that Anthony doesn't have much to offer anymore. He's never been all that great on the defensive end, and his shooting has now fallen off to such a point that it doesn't outweigh his deficiencies on the other side of the ball.
However, Anthony is great friends with LeBron James, and the Lakers will be in need of cheap veterans to fill out the end of their roster. As long as neither Anthony nor the team are expecting him to play a big role on the floor, there could be worse options than adding someone who will help keep LeBron happy.