Carmelo Anthony won’t find a new team just yet.
The 10-time NBA All-Star has been linked to the Lakers, but according to a report from ESPN, which cited unidentified league sources, the two parties have “paused” talks on a possible deal unless the team “makes a turn back toward pursuit of Western Conference playoffs contention.”
Los Angeles wanted another veteran presence on its young squad, but losses in four of the team’s past five games left both the Lakers and Anthony’s camp wondering if it was the right time to bring him into “an unsettled environment,” the report said.
Various projections give the Lakers about a 1 percent chance of making the playoffs after their 118-109 loss to the Suns on Saturday. Los Angeles is 30-33 and 10th in the Western Conference.
The organization will focus on playing their rising stars, including Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, instead of setting its sights on Anthony, the report noted.
Bringing ‘Melo into team that may not have meaningful games left makes little sense for the organization or him. Lakers had waited to see who could be available for them in buyout market. For now, makes more sense for Lakers to use minutes on young players than a 34-year-old FA. https://t.co/R0rl1sqHwQ
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 4, 2019
Before the 2018-19 season, Anthony signed a one-year, $2.4 million minimum deal to team up with James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston. Anthony then parted ways with the Rockets after 10 regular-season games. He was traded to the Bulls as part of a financial deal in January and was eventually waived to become a free agent in early February.
Anthony, 34, spent the entire 2017-18 season with the Thunder after being traded by the Knicks for Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott and Chicago’s 2018 second-round draft pick.
He has averaged 24 points a game in his 15 NBA seasons.