Carmelo Anthony’s signing showed the championship aspirations of the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of the 2021-22 season.
Anthony penned a veteran minimum contract with L.A. in one of the steals of the offseason. The 10-time All-Star ended up providing great value as the leader of the Purple and Gold’s second unit, averaging 13.3 points and 5.2 rebounds over 69 games — shooting 44.1% from the field and 37.5% from downtown.
But the 33-year-old’s input didn’t prevent the Lakers from failing to qualify for the Play-In Tournament. During his exit interview on Monday, Anthony said he hadn’t thought about his plans for 2022-23, as he was still processing the fact L.A’s season finished after 82 games.
“Honestly, it’s hard to even think about this being the last game of the season,” the forward said.
“So to think about next season, it’s kind of hard to put that into perspective right now. It’s something I haven’t even tried to think about. Again, I’m still trying to get over the fact that tonight was our last night for the season.”
Anthony added that personally, he felt like he had a good year. The forward also emphasized the relationships he’s built along the way — and the fact he could finally share the floor with his friend, LeBron James.
“Me personally, aside from us just not getting it done as a team, me personally, this was another chapter for me,” he said. “This was another situation where I could say I’ve experienced it. I can finally check the box that I played with Bron, played with AD. On paper, we were phenomenal, but that was just on paper.
“So me personally, I had a good year personally as far as just happiness and being able to go out there and compete, being able to do my part and play my part on this team, being able to be around the guys on this team and build that camaraderie and building a bond, new friendships that we created on this team. So from that standpoint, those are all the things that I felt very good about.
“Coming to practice every day, coming to the gym, working, enjoying the process, dealing with the process and everything that comes along with that process. I’ve experienced it and there was good days, there was bad days, but we got through it and I got through it.”
James on signing contract extension with Lakers: ‘We’ll see’
James gave a similarly vague response to questions about his future. The four-time NBA champion’s contract expires after 2022-23, but he’ll become eligible to sign a two-year $97 million extension in August.
However, James said he couldn’t discuss his contract situation because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
“The conversation hasn’t been talked about and technically because the Collective Bargaining Agreement cannot be discussed until later on in the year,” he said.
“I know it’s out there, but we can’t even, myself and Rich [Paul] can’t even talk with Rob [Pelinka] or the front office at all because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. When we get to that point, we’ll see.”
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