Timing is everything.
All it took was one conversation for LeBron James to convince Carmelo Anthony to join him on the Lakers after two decades of toying with the idea.
“Bron just came to me one time and said, ‘Yo, the time is now. I want you. We got to make this happen,’” Anthony said during his introductory press conference on Monday. “And I just felt like for right now, this is the best time.”
“… It wasn’t really no pitch this time. I think it was really just more of an understanding. Like, ‘OK, the time is now. The time is now for both parties to merge, for both parties to agree to come together, and let’s put this thing together.’”
Anthony, who played the past season-and-a-half with the Blazers, and the Lakers agreed to a one-year deal, the team confirmed on Friday – making L.A. his sixth NBA team in 19 seasons.
“For years, we always laughed about it and spoke about it on what it would be like,” Anthony said about teaming up with his “brother,” James.
“Most people would say we should’ve gotten together years ago early in our careers, but we were in two different lanes, we were on two different paths. And everything comes full circle, I’ll say.”
The two met as top prospects in high school and bonded throughout their time in the AAU circuit. They were later drafted together in 2003 when James was selected first overall by the Cavaliers, and Anthony went third overall to the Nuggets. They won Olympic gold together as part of Team USA in 2008 and 2012.
Now, in the latter half of their careers, James, 36, and Anthony, 37, are entering their 19th season in hopes of winning his first championship. If the Lakers win it all this season, it would be James’ fifth ring.
“I’m coming in with a championship on my mind,” Anthony said. “I think we all know that this is the one thing that I’m missing, right? This is the one thing that it keeps me up at night, it motivates me, because I don’t have it. I want that experience.”
Anthony has never made it to the NBA Finals in 13 postseason appearances. He came close in 2009 with the Nuggets, but ultimately fell in six games to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Los Angeles is favored behind the Nets to win the Larry O’Brien championship trophy in the 2021-22 season. The purple and gold, however, are at the center of geriatric headlines due to owning the oldest active squad in the league.
After the free agency window opened on Aug. 2, James and the Lakers went on a shopping spree and acquired veteran stars Russell Westbrook, 32; Trevor Ariza, 36; Wayne Ellington, 33; Kent Bazemore, 32; and future Hall of Famers in Dwight Howard, 35, and Anthony.
“We don’t care. We don’t care. We make our own narrative,” Anthony said about those doubting his new squad.
“I like when people talk about the age. It gives a better story. I think it gives a better story. I think people forget, at the end of the day, it’s about basketball. You got to know how to play basketball. You got to have that experience. I think that’s what we bring at this point and time. Our talent, our skill, but also our experience,”
Anthony, who averaged 13.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season in Portland, shot a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range. His offensive presence and willingness to play any role could make him a strong weapon for James and Co.
While the Lakers will likely need to load manage the majority of its stars, the veteran experience in Los Angeles is impressive. Heading into this season, the Lakers now have two of the top 10 scorers in NBA history in Anthony and James.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Lakers can withstand the pressures of Father Time.