Denver NuggetsLos Angeles LakersNBA

Carmelo Anthony Reveals A ‘Deal Was Done’ For the Lakers To Acquire Him in 2011

Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony. Photo by Kathy Willens AP

The best thing about NBA podcasts is the stories of what’s going on behind the scenes. Otherwise, fans wouldn’t have any idea what’s happening. Case in point: Carmelo Anthony.

Appearing on The Why with Dwyane Wade, Anthony revealed he was supposed to be a Los Angeles Laker in 2011 until George Karl vetoed the trade. 

I’m not saying I want out of here, but y’all gotta show me your cards… Here’s the teams: Chicago, the deal was done with the Lakers, me and Nene for Lamar Odom and (Andrew) Bynum. That deal was done. I never thought about New York.

When George (Karl) had that deal and turned that deal down, now it’s like, you don’t want me in the West. You’ll send me to the East. Get me to New York.

Carmelo Anthony on the details of his trade rumors in 2011

This behind-the-curtains deal was surprising and unsurprising at the same time. Well, it’s surprising that a lot of these wheelings and dealings do not even reach the media. And yes, it’s not surprising, because why would George Karl help the Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Nene #31 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket while being defended by Pau Gasol #16 of the Lakers during the second half at Staples Center on February 28, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 95-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

That said, it would have been a blockbuster if the deal went through. Imagine a prime Anthony alongside Kobe Bryant, with Pau Gasol and Nene up front. Interestingly, the Brazilian big man’s last fully healthy season was in 2011-12. It was all downhill from there health-wise for the 17-season veteran.

Nevertheless, having a legitimate superstar beside Bryant on the back end of his career would have helped immensely. No one knows if the Achilles injury would have happened or if he would have won his sixth ring. Either way, it’s an interesting “What if?” scenario.

Ultimately, the Denver Nuggets sent him to the New York Knicks for a haul. Denver got Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, and multiple draft picks for Anthony. Nevertheless, the 2003 No. 3 overall pick never reached the Conference Finals in his Knicks stint.