Let me first start by saying that I am a Carmelo Anthony fan. I respect his game and view him as one of the most dynamic scorers in the game today. A couple of years ago, when the Lakers and Nuggets squared off in the Western Finals, Melo was amazing. His size, speed and athleticism combined with that deadly mentality created an impossible matchup. Trevor Ariza was too small. Luke Walton too slow. And Kobe Bryant didn’t stand much of a chance either when it came to checking Anthony.
All that being said, he simply wouldn’t be a good fit for the Lakers. In fact, the Lakers stand to see their title chances decrease by adding Carmelo and subtracting Andrew Bynum.
If defense wins championships then there’s a good reason why the Nuggets have come up short in their recent title quests. As great and dedicated as Carmelo is on offense, he’s equally inept and aloof on defense. How exactly is that going to work? Ron Artest was brought in to lockdown the likes of Melo and LeBron. With Carmelo in Purple and Gold Phil Jackson would suddenly be pitted with the task of juggling awkward lineups.
If you think Ron Ron is lost in the triangle now just wait until his minutes are cut and he’s asked to play out of position just to get Melo and Mamba on the floor at the same time.
Which brings us to the most awkward probability of all – Kobe and Carmelo sharing the rock. Getting two great scorers on the court at the same time is great for pickup games but doesn’t seem very feasible for the NBA. You might argue the Miami Heat is proving otherwise but that is a much different situation as there are no low post threats in South Beach to share the rock with. Tell me how it would work if Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were on the same team?
Kobe is a scorer. Plain and simple. The hoops illiterate will call him a ball hog but those that know the game understand that his role is to score just as it was Dennis Rodman’s job to defend and rebound.
By adding another player that needs 20-25 shots a night you greatly affect the balance of the offense. Suddenly guys like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are left scouring for crumbs. In the middle of a career year, this would force Odom to return to his inconsistent ways. For Gasol, who still seeks to find his inner aggression, the trade would ensure he remains passive.
Then there is the issue with what you lose in dealing away Bynum. That size advantage over Miami disappears. The ability to go chest to chest with Boston vanishes. The odds of getting past San Antonio goes wanting. Drew might not be the dominant force you expect of a guy making $15-mil but what he brings is an undeniable presence in the post.
Carmelo Anthony could end his career in the Hall of Fame and many will be left wondering what could have been had the Lakers traded for him. I’m here to tell you that adding Carmelo now ensures nothing in the future. Answer me this. Why does Carmelo want out of Denver in the first place?
The Denver front office has done a great job of surrounding Carmelo with complimentary pieces. If his goal is to win, then Denver gives him the best chance. They have taken his offensive mindset and hired a coach with a similar outlook and added players with similar styles. He just doesn’t fit in the triangle. Also, there are no assurances that Melo would sign an extension with the Lakers leaving Los Angeles to seek another big trade should no contractual resolution be found. Then again, should they ink him to a mega deal there is the issue of being trapped in cap hell with the money committed to KB24, Gasol and Melo.
All in all, the Lakers have much more to lose than gain by entering into the Carmelo sweepstakes.