According to his manager, the Los Angeles Lakers will sign forward Carmelo Anthony as a free agent to a one year deal. The deal will presumably be for the veteran's minimum, the same amount he has played for over the past two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers.
The signing represents a career-long goal for Anthony and close friend LeBron James. The two have played together for Team USA, but never in the NBA. Howard Beck was even informed by James in 2016 that he would accept a lower salary to play with Anthony, Dwyane and Chris Wade. James will still earn his maximum salary for this season.
Other moves by the Lakers were made Tuesday. They reportedly agreed to a deal for Malik Monk, a free-agent guard, who will provide needed shooting for the team. Los Angeles also signed Kendrick Nunn to a two-year contract, while Talen Horton Tucker resigned with the Lakers for a three year deal worth $32million.
The Lakers entered free agency with only four players under guaranteed contracts, thanks to their blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook. This created a dire need for depth, especially among shooters. Anthony seems to be the one to fill this void. Last season, he shot 40.9 percent from behind-the-arc. But, perhaps most importantly, 41.8% of his shots attempts were from behind. For the first time in his career, he was able to play full-time off the bench.
He has struggled with defense in the past, which was evident last season in Portland. The Blazers allowed 115.8 point per 100 possessions when Anthony was on the floor last season. That was the second-worst mark on the team behind second-year forward Nassir Little. He sat down? They allowed only 112.1 points per 100 possessions. That tied with Damian Lillard for the lowest figure among Blazers players when they weren't in the game. The Blazers weren't very good defensively but were at their worst when Anthony was present.
The Lakers have been built around defense ever since Anthony Davis and Frank Vogel joined the team in 2019. They will have to find a way to exploit Anthony's offensive talents while protecting him from the defensive end. They will give Anthony the best chance to win his first championship in his career if they succeed.