Another year with Lakers or move on?

Carmelo Anthony’s lengthy and brilliant career may have to come to an unexpected finale. Carmelo ended up with the Portland Trail Blazers before signing with the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of the 2021-22 season after being unable to find a team for a long time. The Lakers had a disastrous season, owing in large part to their aging squad, which Anthony said everyone should take responsibility for.

Despite his age of 37 years old, Carmelo scored over 13 points per game and shot a solid 37.5 percent from the three-point range. Therefore, unless he decides to retire before the start of the following season, he will almost certainly be able to find another team willing to grant him another deal. Carmelo will be a free agent once his one-year contract with the Lakers ends, and it’s unclear where he’ll wind up next season.

Potential teams

According to NBA insider Sean Deveney, four teams have reported interest in the player, including two Eastern Conference heavy favorites. Carmelo has strong ties to New York, and while a return to the New York Knicks is doubtful, the Brooklyn Nets have been considered a viable option for Carmelo. The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, who were at the top of the Eastern Conference this season, have also reported interest.

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat have been mentioned as potential dark horses for Carmelo Anthony in free agency, per @SeanDeveney pic.twitter.com/fc3Nda6iaU

— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) April 25, 2022

Anthony’s style suits Celtics coach Ime Udoka well. He is someone who can destroy his enemies as a lone wolf. That would not be the case at a different point in his career. An executive in the Western Conference said that Carmelo joining the Heat makes sense, but joining the Celtics is also an appealing possibility with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown being expected to embrace an experienced leader who can shoot.

“If he wants to go back to the area, the Nets stuff will pop up again,” said an Eastern Conference General Manager. “He’d probably rather be there than back with the Knicks. He won a gold medal with Kevin Durant and Kyrie (Irving) and they wanted to sign him (in 2019) but the front office wanted more defense.

“Now, he’s kind of shown he can play a role as a 3-point shooter and they need to add more shooting because they’re worried about Joe Harris to start the season. If he leaves the Lakers, there will be interest on both sides with him and the Nets. He could win there.”

To retire or keep playing

Anthony is nearing the end of his career. Re-signing him will remove roster spaces for recent second-round picks like Yam Madar and Juhann Begarin as well as any prospective undrafted free agent finds from the Summer League.

Back in March, Carmelo addressed the speculation about his retirement.

“I’m going to tell you that right now: You ain’t going to hear no whispers,” said Carmelo when asked about retirement. “You’re going to hear it straight from me.”

Despite his age, he has been resilient.  Carmelo attributed his success to his mental approach to each season.

“If coming into it you’re thinking, ‘Oh I want to play 70 games or 72 games,’ you’re not going to be really locked into that,” said Carmelo. “You’ll be worried about something going wrong or this happening.”