Carmelo Anthony has revived his career with the Trail Blazers, but he told reporters in Los Angeles last night that he had been hoping to join his close friend LeBron James with the Lakers, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Anthony got a warm reception from the crowd during his first visit to L.A. since his 12-month exile from the league. There was speculation this summer that the Lakers might be the next team to give Anthony a chance.
“There were a lot of teams that I thought I was going to be on,” Anthony said. “As far as LeBron goes, it’s something we’ve talked about since we were in high school. It wasn’t in his power. … I would’ve never put him in that position because a lot of times it’s deeper than that, and I started understanding the business of basketball.”
The Clippers held Anthony to his worst game since he returned, limiting him to nine points on a 2-of-9 shooting night. Afterward, Paul George, who was Anthony’s teammate for one season in Oklahoma City, urged critics to back off and let Anthony show what he can still do.
“I’m not going to be happy with [the criticism], with how they tried to shoot him down when he first started,” George said. “I am not going to be happy now that he’s playing well and they want to be on his side. He is going to have a long season. Let him play. Let him hoop. Say what you want when he’s finished, but let him hoop. It’s great that he’s getting that recognition now. When it is all said and done — people, let him play and let him hoop. It’s tough regardless when he came back; he had been out over a year, so there’s going to be some ups and downs. But let Melo hoop.”
George is the latest in a series of high-profile players to speak out for Anthony. Teammate Kawhi Leonard said Sunday that he believes Anthony was treated unfairly and never should have been away from the league for so long.
“It means a lot,” Anthony said of the support from his peers. “But also, the real ones know what’s going on. It’s not them. I never had issues with any of my colleagues saying anything about me. It’s the narratives that surround the game of basketball, the opinions that everybody has. All of these cameras have their opinion. So it’s those things that come into play, which can easily allow somebody to get down on themselves and want to give up and want to not be motivated. I was against all of that. I stayed with it. I stayed motivated. I pushed myself.”