The Los Angeles Lakers created an open roster spot nearly one month ago by trading Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley for Mike Muscala. Despite having only 14 full-roster players during that time, the team did not find a suitable replacement for their final spot.
The Lakers have been linked to Carmelo Anthony as their prime buyout candidate all along, in part due to Anthony’s friendship with LeBron James. Over the course of the season, the franchise had reportedly pushed back on signing Anthony, who has not played since November, but it appears as though they were headed towards signing the former All-Star forward before “pausing talks.”
Following via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
The Los Angeles Lakers and free agent Carmelo Anthony are pausing talks on a possible contract agreement unless the franchise makes a turn back toward pursuit of Western Conference playoffs contention, league sources told ESPN.
The Lakers had been leaning toward signing Anthony for the rest of the season — until losses in four of the past five games left the organization and Anthony’s camp wondering if it made sense to bring the veteran into an unsettled environment with suddenly so little chance of making the playoffs, league sources said.
As we have often said, Anthony does not really make sense for the Lakers beyond his relationship with their star player. That’s especially true as the team continues dropping must-win games against bottom-tier competition.
The Lakers need to improve their defense that has been reeling since Lonzo Ball was injured or fix their big-man rotation that has become a liability since JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler have dropped off from their hot starts to the year. Depending on Ball’s status, another point guard is more important than a one-dimensional scorer in Anthony.
According to Wojnarowski, the team has considered signing another center but with the buyout market being dearth of big men (DeAndre Jordan, Robin Lopez and Dewayne Dedmon all stayed with their teams), it’s unlikely that they will sign anyone of note to shore up that position.