Syracuse men’s basketball didn’t win a national championship last night, but it might have felt that way if you squinted. Boeheim’s Army, a perennial entrant of The Basketball Tournament since 2015, finally reached the championship game and delivered a win, thanks mostly in part to Keifer Sykes’ last-second buzzer-beating three. To the victors go the spoils: one million dollars, and bragging rights.
It’s an exciting achievement and might make you think about another former SU star who still plays in the NBA: Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony was obviously never going to play for Boeheim’s Army this year, but in an ideal world, he would in the future. Could you imagine how much his addition would raise the profile of the tournament? Not to mention the titles that would likely roll in. But that’s beside the point.
If you thought about Melo during the TBT run, it’s because he hasn’t won (or even appeared in) a championship of any kind since the 2003 National Title with SU. As good as you felt for Rice, Sykes and the rest in TBT’s championship, it made me think about the fact that Melo hasn’t been able to get to the Finals in the NBA and share a similar moment. That’s a shame, but Anthony’s story looks to have one final chapter.
Yesterday, the Lakers signed Anthony to a one-year deal, and it might represent the final chance for the 37-year old forward to finally appear in the NBA Finals. He joins a Lakers core that won the championship in 2019-2020 and made the playoffs last season.
Anthony likely won’t have a starting role after appearing as a bench player for Portland in 2020-21, but the 18-year veteran shot 40.9% from three across 69 games (three starts). LA was arguably an Anthony Davis injury away from putting away the eventual Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns in the playoffs, so the addition of a veteran shooter like Anthony makes depth sense. However, you figure things are nearing the end of the line for Anthony. It’s rumored he considered retirement before Portland offered him a contract prior to the 2019-2020 season.
Anthony, along with veteran additions in Russell Westbrook and Dwight Howard, will try to improve the Lakers’ 42-30 2020-2021 record. Time will tell this is Anthony’s last run. It’s easy to imagine that if he earns a ring, it very well may be.