With the Los Angeles Lakers falling further out of playoff contention, the team’s pursuit of free agent Carmelo Anthony has reportedly hit the brakes.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday morning that the team and Anthony “are pausing talks” about a potential contract unless the Lakers “make a turn back toward pursuit” of a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. As of Monday morning, the LeBron James-led Lakers are in 10th place in the West, 4.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 8 spot in the standings.
Per Wojnarowski, the Lakers had been “leaning toward” bringing on Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, for the rest of the season. But that changed when the Lakers stumbled out of the All-Star break and have lost eight of their 11 games in the month of February, including an embarrassing 118-109 defeat at the hands of the last-place Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
The 34-year-old Anthony signed a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets in August, but his time there fizzled out after just 10 games. He averaged 13.4 points per game in Houston, but he and the team quickly concluded it wasn’t a fit and parted ways. Anthony was traded to the Chicago Bulls in January, but was waived on Feb. 1. At that point, Anthony became a free agent.
The Lakers, in their first season with James leading the way, presumably hoped Anthony could help propel them into a playoff spot. But that seems like a long shot with 19 games to play.
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