On Thursday afternoon, Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss and a slew of Los Angeles Lakers big wigs put on their pitching caps. For almost three hours, an attempt was made to sell free agent forward Carmelo Anthony on a possible relocation to the Lakers.
On that same day, the New York Knicks met with Anthony to give their final thoughts on the matter to reiterate the five-year, $129 million deal they’re offering. The Lakers have offered their max of four years and $97 million.
It was originally reported that Anthony’s decision would be between the Chicago Bulls and Knicks. Now the Lakers have moved into a three way tie for his services, according to ESPN’s Bill Simmons.
Hearing the Lakers made a MAJOR impact on Melo this week – it’s now a legit 3-way battle between LA/Chi/NYK to land him. Crazy NBA weekend.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 5, 2014
No one close to the situation has made any official comment, however one source in Anthony’s camp said the Lakers are now “in the game.” That must have been one great pitch the Lakers delivered to Anthony as they weren’t considered to be on his radar until days ago.
Lakers veteran guard Kobe Bryant was not present for the meeting with Anthony.
Although nothing seems to be imminent, sources have revealed that the idea of Melo joining Kobe with the Lakers re-signing center Pau Gasol made a major impression. Teams will now play the waiting game, as Anthony is expected to make a decision this coming second week of July.
It’s rumored, however, that word on his re-signing with the Knicks or possible move to another team will drop after LeBron James decides where to play basketball next season.
Anthony is a seven-time All-Star and is experiencing his first experience as an unrestricted free agent. Each of the three teams considered to be in the running to sign him have different circumstances with regards to their rosters and/or how they plan to acquire Anthony.
The Lakers currently possess enough room in their salary cap to sign Anthony outright; however, their current roster is a ghost town. The Knicks can re-sign Anthony for the highest dollar amount, however their roster is pretty full so it’ll take some wheelin’ and dealin’ for Phil Jackson to make the changes needed to please Anthony.
Chicago would need to pursue via sign and trade, which of course New York would most likely accommodate.
Both Los Angeles’ and New York’s franchises depend on Anthony. As of late neither team has been the free agent paradise they once were.
Securing Anthony in the long term would be a key step in possessing a bigger draw for future players. Both Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Knicks president Phil Jackson mentioned this to Anthony.
As of right now it’s unclear as to which team truly has the upper hand. While the Knicks can offer more money, the Lakers offer the better opportunity for Anthony to build his dream scenario of teammates and coach.
Who knows what the overriding factors are, but one thing is for sure … if Carmelo Anthony lands in Los Angeles, there will be happier days in L.A. — wearing purple and gold.