The New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers are two teams that have been plagued by injuries to key players. As a result, both teams have a winning percentage below .400 and ranked near the bottom of their respective conferences. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has the option to opt out of his contract this summer and many have speculated he will look to join with a team in contention for an NBA title. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls are two of the top teams rumored to pursue Anthony, but today we will focus on the idea of Melo joining the Lakers. Sports Unbiased writers Jr. Williams and Tim Snyder debated the possibility of Carmelo Anthony joining the Lake Show, here’s what they had to say.
Jr. Williams vs Tim Snyder: S.U. Debates
1. Could Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony co-exist?
Tim Snyder: If this was five years ago, I would say absolutely not. The Nuggets already tried this experiment when they brought Allen Iverson to play with Carmelo in Denver, however I will admit that they were extremely fun to watch at the time. Both Carmelo and Kobe play the same exact way, relying on isolation offense and one on one basketball. However, now that Kobe is getting long in the tooth, he may be willing to take a back seat to Carmelo offensively and play more of a spot-up game. If the Lakers really wanted this experiment to work, they would need an offensive mastermind like Phil Jackson to mediate.
Jr. Williams: You’re insane if you think Kobe Bryant is going to take a back seat to a guy (Carmello Anthony) who takes 20+ shots per game and plays lackluster defense at best while having no idea in the concept of playing “team basketball” despite being in the league more than a decade. Honestly, I just don’t believe in Melo making the necessary sacrifices, more importantly, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t the guy who will lead the Lakers back to the promise land, therefore, my answer to this question is an emphatic NO.
2. Would there be enough defense?
Jr Williams: You’re kidding right? When has Carmelo Anthony ever been known to play defense? He would be the only defensive liability for the Lakers as he would probably spend most of his time complaining to refs about fouls while the opposing team scores as a result of a 3-on-4 fast break. Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol are the best defenders for the Lakers which doesn’t speak much on the team’s behalf – both players are on a slow decline from a defensive abilities perspective. The Lakers are in dire need of player who’s sole purpose is to defend some of the troublesome players in the league. Until then, there will not be enough defense. Basically, the Lakers would have to focus on outscoring the opposing team.
Tim Snyder: Five to ten years ago, Kobe was an elite defender and would take on the challenge of guarding any player in the league. An aging Kobe, however, has the same problems that Carmelo has: no lateral quickness. If they played together, defenders would blow by them on the perimeter. The only way that these two could work together is if Carmelo played power forward and Kobe played small forward. I actually think this would work offensively and defensively! Around them, the Lakers could stack up with a rim protecting center and quick, feisty guards.
Tim Snyder: Absolutely! D’Antoni’s no defense, all offense approach is what Carmelo was built for. I could see Carmelo putting up career numbers, like averaging 32 points per game. He should ask his buddy Amare Stoudemire what that felt like.
Jr Williams: Of course he would put up big numbers, were talking about a player who has no problem putting up 30 shots per game with very few assists. On a positive note, Carmelo Anthony will certainly help the Lakers in the rebounding category but I wouldn’t expect anything more. Melo is nothing more than a hired gun, meaning – you get what you pay for.
4. Would Kobe Bryant embrace Carmelo Anthony as a teammate?
Jr Williams: This may surprise you, but I am going to say yes. Kobe would definitely embrace Melo with open arms, just as he welcomed Dwight Howard to the team during the 2012-2013 NBA season, but we know what will transpire after all the smoke settles and the fog clears. Kobe will then realize what a horrible idea it was to join forces with Melo after the Lakers fail to make the post season. The grass is not always greener on the other side, but if Kobe can agree to take a back seat to the “Melo-show,” the Lakers could find themselves in the playoffs. The biggest problem is both players need the ball in their hands in order to be effective.
My advice to Carmelo is to stay in New York and build a championship team at home.
Tim Snyder: Ever since Carmelo broke Kobe’s Madison Square Garden scoring record last week, reporters have been hounding Bryant about a future partnership with Carmelo. Diplomatically, he has declined comment, but everyone knows the answer to this one. Kobe would definitely want Carmelo as a teammate in L.A. At this point in his career, Kobe would never turn away somebody with as much talent as Carmelo (except Dwight Howard). If Anthony has half as much desire as Kobe, a partnership between the two would, at the very least, cause some waves in the West.
5. Would the Lakers have money left for anybody else?
Tim Snyder: Ha. Kobe’s current $48.5 million dollar contract has really hurt the Lakers as far as the salary cap goes. Just a few years ago, when the Heat signed the Big-3 to contracts, they all had to accept less money. Even after that, they barely had enough cash to sign anybody else. Fortunately for them, players love to win and a bunch of other guys sacrificed, too. When it comes to the Lakers, the whole key to this equation is Carmelo. Will he sign a contract for way under his value? If he did decide to do that, he could silence all of the critics that have called him a selfish player throughout his career. I wouldn’t count on it, though.
Jr Williams: The Lakers wouldn’t have a ton of cash remaining if they (hypothetically) decided to sign Carmelo Anthony, but there are a few quality players out there who may be willing to except a lower salary or even the veteran minimum. Andrew Bynum is still available but the odds of the Lakers bringing him back are highly unlikely. Signing Carmelo Anthony could in essence “break the bank”.