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Carmelo Anthony ready to write new narrative with Lakers

LeBron James drives against Carmelo Anthony.
Carmelo Anthony plays defense against LeBron James. Now the two, for the first time in their storied careers, will be teammates this season.
(Mike Ehrmann / Associated Press)

Carmelo Anthony is 37, was how the question began, and LeBron James turns 37 on Dec. 30 …

“We don’t care,” Anthony answered before the question was finished.

Dwight Howard is 35, Trevor Ariza is 36, Marc Gasol is 36 ….

“We … don’t … care …” Anthony said, smiling. “We make our own narrative.”

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The storyline is that the Lakers are old by NBA standards or they are a very experienced team, depending on your view.

The truth is that eight of the 12 players on the Lakers’ current roster are 30 or older, six of them joining the team this summer.

Dwight Howard signed on Friday to join the Lakers for a third time because it feels right. Trevor Ariza and Talen Horton-Tucker agree with sentiment.

With the 20-something players of Anthony Davis (28), Talen Horton-Tucker (20), Malik Monk (23) and Kendrick Nunn (26), the Lakers’ average age is 31.2 years.

Anthony, in his first news conference with the Los Angeles media on Monday since joining the Lakers on a veteran minimum deal, talked about how players of his generation have taken care of their bodies and that has allowed them to extend their careers.

“I think just the concept and the seriousness behind taking care of yourself, like, we really understand what that means from a holistic standpoint — the mind, body and soul,” Anthony said. “We are there at that point of our career where we understand the importance of what it means to take care of your body. What it means to take care of your mind. And in this situation, experience comes into play.”

The saying “age ain’t nothing but a number” is something Anthony embraced.

“I like when people talk about the age. It gives a better story. I think it gives a better story,” Anthony said. “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.”

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Anthony and James are longtime friends and they have yearned to play together. After 18 years in the NBA, Anthony and James have finally become partners in the league.

U.S. players (from left) Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant pose with their gold medals.
Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James (center, left and right) are flanked by Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant as they pose with their gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
(Charles Krupa / Associated Press)

“I think timing is everything. I mean, for years, we’ve always laughed about it and spoke about it — what it would be like,” Anthony said. “We had a little bit of experience with the USA Basketball and playing together, but that’s totally different than a situation like this. But we’ve always talked about it, laughed and joked about it. But I thought and he thought at this moment now, everything comes back full circle for us. And I think the time is now for us to be on the same team. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Out of the 1,191 games Anthony has played, he started in 1,117 of them.

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Last season in Portland, he started in just three of the 69 games he played. He averaged 13.4 points and made 40.9% of his three-pointers as a valuable reserve for the Trail Blazers.

He didn’t say what his role will be with the Lakers, but he learned a lot about coming off the bench for the first time in his illustrious career.

“So, you go for 16, 17 years and you’re the guy on the team and you’re the star, and then all of a sudden somebody is like, ‘Listen, come off the bench.’ I had to swallow that ego,” Anthony said. “I had to swallow that pride. But I also had to use that ego and that pride to keep me on edge and keep me motivated. And I’ve accepted that. It played out well in Portland.

A look at why Carmelo Anthony is a better fit now for the L.A. Lakers than earlier in his storied career.

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“Again, that was my first time doing it and experiencing that at that level. But I enjoyed it. It was fun, it was basketball, and I was still able to do my thing and play ball and have fun and have the love for the game again. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen [with the Lakers], you know what I’m saying? I just know I’m prepared, like I’m ready, you know what I’m saying? I’m ready to go play basketball. I know what’s at stake here and I’m totally locked.”

Anthony said he’s coming to the Lakers “with a championship on my mind.”

He knows it won’t be easy, but he’s prepared to do his part.

“This is the one thing that it keeps me up at night, it motivates me, because I don’t have it,” Anthony said of a title. “I want that experience. I want to experience what it’s like and going through the ups and downs of a championship season with a team, right? The turmoil. How we come together when those things are not going right. That adversity. When adversity hits, how we going to come together even tighter. How we going to have each other’s back. How we are going to support each other. Because the basketball part of it is going to take care of itself.

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“We have the talent. We just got to put it all together. And in order for us to put that all together, we really got to have one common goal and that’s winning a championship. I know that for a fact that the guys that we have on this year’s roster, that’s the ultimate goal. There’s nothing less of that. That’s the ultimate goal.”


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