Carmelo Anthony Says He Would “Always Love” To Play With Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant has taken large heaps of criticism lately, most notably from Henry Abbott’s latest feature article in ESPN Magazine in which he took an open and educated stance that the Los Angeles Lakers have been unable to land big time free agents because they don’t wish to play with Kobe.
Carmelo Anthony, the biggest free agent name other than LeBron James this past summer, was courted by the Lakers, Rockets, and Bulls as top contenders to lull Anthony away from the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson. Anthony ultimately re-signed with New York for $124 million over five years.
But according to Anthony, Kobe Bryant was not the reason he chose not to join the lakers, via Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk:
“Hell no. Of course not, Anthony said. “If I thought that [playing for the Lakers] was the right situation for me from an overall perspective as far as having a team there, then I would have looked at that situation more in-depth. I just felt more comfortable staying here in New York. But as far as playing with him … I’m here now but I would always love to play with Kobe.”
Kobe and Carmelo are personal friends and comrades, and I’m sure the idea of pairing up with Kobe was one of the only things that made the Lakers seem intriguing from a basketball standpoint. Of the teams recruiting Carmelo in free agency, his presence would have the least chance of ensuring an immediate championship impact with the Lakers, and that has to do with every one else on the team except Kobe.
In that sense, the argument could be made that the best move for Melo at the time would have been the Chicago Bulls, who were able to pay him around $30 million less than what the Knicks could provide. I suppose in the end we simply saw how difficult it was to walk away from the money, the Big Apple, and the Zen Master.
But according to Melo, playing with Kobe was never an issue.