James may get Anthony wish

Rockets can release his friend in a week and Lakers could be in the market for a trade

Rockets guard Eric Gordon knocking the ball away from Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The home side won 118-91 to continue their good recent run.
Rockets guard Eric Gordon knocking the ball away from Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The home side won 118-91 to continue their good recent run.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • LeBron James reportedly has not asked the Los Angeles Lakers management to acquire Carmelo Anthony, but that does not mean the two have no chance of playing together this National Basketball Association (NBA) season.

The Athletic reported on Thursday that James would still like to play with Anthony, his longtime friend, who started the campaign with the Houston Rockets.

On Nov 15, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey announced that the team were "parting ways" with Anthony, but had yet to release him.

The forward had played 10 games for Houston till then, but struggled with what the club termed an unspecified "illness". The Rockets can trade Anthony from next Saturday.

Per the Athletic, James has not asked either team president Magic Johnson or general manager Rob Pelinka to acquire Anthony and does not plan to.

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne confirmed that no request had been made and said James does not intend to ask, but the NBA writer did not rule out the move if Johnson and Pelinka decide it is the right one.

The Athletic also reported that James thinks Anthony could contribute to the improving Lakers, who are 15-9 and in fifth place in the NBA's Western Conference.

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    Season-high Rockets turnovers that translated to a season-high loss of 33 points off those mistakes.

James apparently also wants Anthony's career to end on a higher note than it did with the Rockets.

James, Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul all are longtime friends, and James told Bleacher Report in 2016 that he hoped the four could play together before their careers were done.

He teamed up with Wade in Miami and Cleveland, and with Wade set to retire after this season, his goal of the four amigos together likely would not come true. He has never been teammates with Paul or Anthony.

"At least one, maybe one or two seasons - me, Melo, D-Wade, CP - we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that," James told Bleacher Report.

"It would be pretty cool. I've definitely had thoughts about it."

It remains to be seen where Anthony's future lies. But, even after getting the struggling 10-time All-Star off their roster, the Rockets still fell to their sixth loss in eight NBA games on Thursday night.

The Jazz's Derrick Favors recorded a double-double off the bench, and Joe Ingles helped the early load on offence as Utah continued their strong play with a 118-91 demolition of the Rockets in Salt Lake City.

Utah (13-13) have won five of seven games to reach .500 for the first time since Nov 17.

Favors finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds in just 25 minutes while Ingles totalled 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

James Harden paced the Rockets with 15 points but shot five of 16 from the floor and recorded seven turnovers. Paul had five turnovers and five assists to go along with his 12 points. Clint Capela added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who are 1-5 in their past six road games and 11-13 overall.

Paul scored 10 points in the first half to reach 17,000 for his career. He stands 142 assists shy of joining Jason Kidd, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and John Stockton as the only ones to produce 17,000 points, 9,000 assists and 4,000 rebounds.

"They (Utah) were driving and kicking and being more active," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said, as reported by the New York Times.

"They were more athletic, getting to the rim. They just beat us in every which way they could."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'James may get Anthony wish'. Print Edition | Subscribe