Like the rest of the NBA world, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony knows full well that speculation regarding free agency in 2014 has him heading West with LeBron James.
And while Anthony resoundingly denied he would move to the Los Angeles Lakers next summer, according to a video from TMZ, Anthony did, however point out the success he and James have had playing together.
Like James, the 29-year-old small forward and reigning scoring champion can opt out of his contract after next season and test free agency. The Lakers are expected to have upwards of $50 million in salary cap space freed up in 2014, and rumors have swirled that Anthony and James could team up in Los Angeles.
Laker star Kobe Bryant will be a free agent at the conclusion of next season, and has stated he won't take a pay cut. But the addition of James and or Anthony could help him win the sixth title he desperately needs to equal Michael Jordan's championship total.
The celebrity news website reportedly spotted Anthony coming out of L.A. hotspot Craig’s earlier this week, and was asked to explain, “hypothetically,” what it would be like to play with James.
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Anthony said he doesn’t think in hypothetical terms, but did say about him and James: “We won two gold medals together.”
When asked about playing for the Lakers Anthony said: “Ummm, I doubt it.”
The speculation regarding Anthony in L.A. could be fueled by his celebrity wife Alani "La La" Vasquez, who is a television host and personality. Before he left Denver for New York, it was rumored La La was pushing her husband to the Knicks for her career. Anthony denied his wife was pulling any strings.
Seemingly the only way Anthony or James would leave their respective teams would be if they thought L.A. presented them with a better opportunity to win a title.
Anthony joined the Knicks in 2011 in a mega three-team deal that involved 12 players and several draft picks. Now New York is cap strapped, and teammate Amar’e Stoudemire has not proven to be a valuable running mate for Anthony.
New York is already more than $4 million over the salary cap threshold for next season, a caveat that could stunt their hopes for a title run next year.
James has just come off his second consecutive championship with the Miami Heat, and while it would seem unlikely team president Pat Riley would let him leave, the four-time MVP has shown he is willing to leave a team for greener pastures.
Of late, Dwyane Wade has struggled with knee injuries and Chris Bosh has disappeared in games. Both players can also opt-out in 2014 like James, and the Heat will also have to consider the new, stricter luxury taxes that take affect next year.
The two minute clip below shows Anthony’s comments in their entirety.