After being drafted just two spots from each other in 2003, and spending nearly two decades in the NBA together, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are finally teammates for the first time. At the beginning of August, Melo agreed to a one-year veteran's minimum deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
While Anthony told People Magazine that playing with LeBron James is something the two have been trying to figure out for a long time, Melo also revealed to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes that joining the Lakers was not his initial plan this offseason. In a recent podcast appearance with Haynes, Melo said that he was waiting around for the Portland Trail Blazers to contact him this, but it never happened.
While Carmelo had options in free agency, he told Haynes that his loyal nature did not want to leave the city of Portland. Melo felt as if he had built a home there these last two seasons, and did not want to leave Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum if the two desired to have him back. While Melo indicated a desire to remain a Blazer, he said the team never contacted him about re-signing.
Once it seemed like returning to Portland was no longer an option, Melo said he considered returning to New York to play with the Knicks. That consideration was ultimately outdone once the Lakers called and offered Carmelo a chance to play in Los Angeles with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.
In 69 games for the Blazers last season, Melo averaged 13.4 PPG on a career-high 40.9% from deep. His perimeter scoring ability is likely to help a Lakers team that should create a plethora of open looks between the playmaking of Russell Westbrook and LeBron James.