Carmelo Anthony Tells Los Angeles Lakers, NBA He's 'Not Going Nowhere' in 2014
Tagged: Nike Free 4.0 V3 Dame
September 14, 2013 at 4:49 am #531782
COMMENTARY | Carmelo Anthony might have given the Los Angeles Lakers the best news they’ll receive all offseason when he said via Newsday this week that he doesn’t plan on leaving New York City in order to play elsewhere when he can become a free agent in 2014.
“I’m not going nowhere,” he said.
For the Lakers’ sake hopefully he’s not going to change his mind.
Before getting into why he’s not a good fit in Los Angeles, it’s important to understand why many fans want to see him don the golden armor.
The 2012-13 scoring champion is a perennial All-Star, Olympic champion, and undoubtedly one of the best players in the world. Nike Free 4.0 V3 Dame. If he were going to make himself available to all potential suitors, then the Lakers should be among the teams reaching out.
L.A. is looking for a new face of the franchise. Everyone around Laker-land understands thatKobe Bryant is ready to pass the torch sooner rather than later, and Anthony is cut from the same cloth as Bryant. Nike Free 4.0 V3 Dame. The two are friends and assassin-like scorers of the basketball with a relentless will to win.
‘Melo even says all of the right things. A good example of such a statement lies in a recent interview he had with Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” on Tuesday. He outlined why he enjoys taking the more difficult road and places value in bringing some hardware to his adopted home town.
“That is one of the reasons why I wanted to come here to New York, just so I could take on those pressures and those challenges,” Anthony said. “A lot of people do not like to deal with the pressure. A lot of people do not know how to deal with the challenges they face. To me, it is everyday life.”
Having the right approach often separates the elite players from everyone else. ‘Melo’s in that category, but he’s still not the best fit for the Lakers moving forward.
How Carmelo will help the Lakers by playing 2,700 miles away
Consider this: Anthony will be 30 years-old in 2014 when he presumably signs his next contract and 31 by the time the 2014-15 season is complete.
Additionally, he will almost assuredly sign a max deal. That means that were he to sign with the Lakers, they’d be on the hook for his services until he’s 34. Nike Free 4.0 V3 Dame. It’s difficult to envision that he’d warrant a $24 million salary at that age (even though he would receive more than that from the Knicks).
The Lakers have a salary cap issue because their aging stars are expensive. Bryant,Pau Gasol and Steve Nash have an average age of 36, yet by themselves take up nearly $60 million of the Lakers’ salary cap number. That leaves little freedom to do anything but wait until their deals expire or move them for future assets. Nike Free 4.0 V3 Dame. The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t allow for contract restructuring, so that’s not an option either.
Bringing in Anthony would mean re-visiting the same issues the Lakers have already.
There aren’t a lot of fans who would say “no” to a productive player in his prime like Anthony. But he won’t be the same player he is now three years down the line. Like every player, his window will close.
These aren’t your father’s Lakers, either. Money matters and the salary cap isn’t something to ignore any longer. Nike Free 4.0 V3 Dame. Luxury tax penalties are as stiff as they’ve ever been for taxpayers, so ROI is as important as it’s ever been. NBA teams are looking at value more than they ever have, and it’s worth asking whether or not an over-30 Anthony will be worth the high salary he’ll command.
By the numbers
The answer to why ‘Melo isn’t a good fit for the Lakers as they transition is more complex than the economics, even though those shouldn’t be ignored either.
The Lakers need a lot of help, and the centerpiece of their organization needs to be a player who can make others better. Anthony’s career assist average is 3.0. His career assist percentage is is 15.8. By comparison, even a ball-dominator like Bryant has career numbers of 4.7 assists per game and a 24.2 career assist percentage.
These numbers alone don’t tell the entire story, but they paint an interesting picture.
If one were to take everything that annoys even the most ardent Kobe Bryant apologists about his game — the ball dominating, reluctancy to pass and make others better and tendency to force shots — it’s important to consider that Anthony exhibits all of those qualities to a greater extent than The Black Mamba.
But where ‘Melo and Kobe differ the most is on the defensive end. Bryant averages 2.9 defensive win shares per season while Anthony averages 2.5. That gap may not appear wide, but it’s tangible enough to back up the discrepancy in formal accolades for each player’s defensive ability. Nike Free 4.0 V3 Dame. Anthony has never made any All-NBA defensive team while Bryant’s had the honor 12 times, nine of which were on the first team.
For a Lakers team that has lost its identity in recent years on the defensive end of the floor, ‘Melo isn’t the answer to bring that much-needed balance.
D’Antoni and ‘Melo: It’s been done before…
…and it wasn’t a pretty sight. ‘Melo was obviously unhappy in that system.
We’ve seen how this drama ends when it comes to Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni and Anthony. The two clashed often enough in New York that there’s reason to speculate that he had something to do with the coach being fired,even if indirectly.
The Lakers have committed to D’Antoni, and that means that he and Anthony would have to coexist in order for the dynamic to work. It seems too far-fetched based on their history alone.
For anyone who believes the idea that the Lakers are willing to fire D’Antoni for a star player, a prime example to the contrary was the Dwight Howard free agency period. If Dwight pushed for D’Antoni to be fired as rumored, they didn’t cave. In fact, the Lakers have been consistent in their stance that players never dictate any personnel decisions.
They likely won’t start any time soon.
Anthony is a great player, but his age, style of play and value at this stage in his career are too much in question for the Lakers to invest their future in. He’s a known entity at age 29 — a great player who will put up outstanding offensive numbers. That’s not enough for the Lakers to build around.
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Michael C. Jones is a Southern California-based journalist and was the 2012 Contributor of the Year. He is the founding editor of Sports Out West and contributes to SB Nation.
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