It’s not just the New York Knicks or Chicago Bulls for Carmelo Anthony after all. According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowksi, the Los Angeles Lakers are in “serious contention” to land the high-scoring superstar.
It was previously believed that New York and Chicago were the only two realistic destinations for Anthony, with the hometown Knicks holding a sizable advantage going into the weekend. Wojnarowski’s report doesn’t cast doubt on Carmelo signing with either team, but puts Los Angeles firmly in the running for his services.
The Los Angeles Lakers have ascended into serious contention to sign New York free agent Carmelo Anthony, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Lakers moved into strong consideration with the front-running New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls over this weekend, sources told Yahoo Sports.
No one with direct knowledge of the process would declare the Lakers had overtaken New York and Chicago in Anthony’s mind, but one source close to Anthony said of the Lakers, “They’re in the game now.”…
One thing that still bothers Anthony is [Phil] Jackson had wanted him to take less than a max contract, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Los Angeles went above and beyond in its recruitment of Anthony. Franchise legend James Worthy was involved in the the team’s pitch, which centered on an original short film of Carmelo’s life helmed by famed movie producer Joel Silver and narrated by actor Tobey Maguire. Kobe Bryant was involved in the proceedings as well, even if time constrictions barred him from being present at the Lakers’ meeting with Anthony.
Of crucial note in Wojnarowski’s report is that despite a fruitful discussion with Jackson and the Knicks brass last week, Anthony is still uncomfortable by the Zen Master’s request that he accept a contract worth less than the maximum. Jackson has made no secret of his desire to retain Carmelo on a reduced price, playing the indirect mind games with Anthony through the media for which he’s become so known during his time in the league. Despite the long-held desire for Carmelo to take less money than he could command, New York indeed presented him a contract offer worth the maximum during their meeting. But it appears Carmelo is irked by Jackson’s unrelenting preference that he play for less money than he’s worth.
None of this is to say that the Knicks are no longer frontrunners in the chase for Anthony. New York can offer him more money than both the Bulls and Lakers, and Carmelo has supposedly grown more comfortable with Jackson’s big-picture plan to revamp the team by signing marquee players when it has copious financial flexibility over the next two summers.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 6, 2014
It was previously reported that Anthony would make a decision on his future by the holiday weekend’s end, but Los Angeles’ meteoric rise to legitimate contender to sign him could complicate that timeline. Either way, we’ll find out soon enough.
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