Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant

The second most important player in this free agency market is Carmelo Anthony. After making the first round of meetings, he’s now finding himself between max offers given to him by the New York Knicks, hoping to retain him, and the Los Angeles Lakers, the most recent team to pitch him an offer.

The Knicks can offer Anthony more money than anyone else. They were hoping that Anthony will look to make less than the max offer but in all frankness, that’s the only thing worthwhile they have to offer him that others can’t. In terms of chances to win right now and the near future, almost every other team seems like a better possibility.

So the Knicks flew to Los Angeles and made their pitch to Anthony. Not that he didn’t know what happening already. An offer of $129 million over five seasons, which eventually should make him the highest paid player in the NBA unless anyone else takes the max extension as well (LeBron James?).

The Lakers, without Kobe Bryant in the initial meeting, made them their offer. They didn’t make the bombastic efforts they used in their failed attempt to keep Dwight Howard with them last summer. Anthony isn’t after fame, glitz and glamour. He’s looking to win, while being paid according to his talents. The Lakers can offer him $97 million over four years, but are also hoping that they can make another max offer to LeBron James, securing the two biggest names in free agency.

Anthony’s number? The #7 with the Rockets caused some problems, because they have a player under contract who is #7. Jeremy Lin. But it’s been a badly kept secret that the Rockets want to get rid of Lin to make cap space available for a big signing. The Lakers had Xavier Henry wearing the #7 jersey last season, but the Belgian player is a free agent at the moment.

Anthony realistically has four teams besides the Knicks looking to add him. The Chicago Bulls were probably his favorites, but they might be understanding that getting him away from the Knicks is going to be difficult. Maybe being friends with Kobe Bryant will eventually decide the fate of this free agency., despite the Lakers not looking like a team that can put together a championship team this season, or at least until Kobe Bryant stops taking so much money.

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