Despite having a squad that’s almost completely empty of talent, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be the leaders in the race to land Carmelo Anthony, with the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls also remaining in the picture.
Well, it’s wrong to say the Lakers are bad. Injured or not, that remains to be seen, but Kobe Bryant should be back when next season begins. Older and maybe with more restrictions on what he can do during games, but he is still a force to be reckoned with, and exactly the kind of player to surprise those who have counted him out. Julius Randle, the rookie, might be one of the new forces to contend with in the league if he too doesn’t have injury problems.
The sell to Anthony that convinced him of the Lakers being serious players includes Pau Gasol remaining with the team. The Spanish big man has been getting pitches from the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat, but he hasn’t closed the doors on the Lakers, who might have the possibility to give him more money than others, even if they do sign Anthony to a max contract.
Things continue to change for Anthony. When the process began, the Chicago Bulls looked like the favorites to land him but the meeting in Chicago gave them a certain vibe that he might not be willing to leave New York for the Windy City. The attention turned to the Knicks, with their offer of $126 million for five seasons being very difficult to beat, but with the Lakers aiming to keep Gasol, add Anthony and also go after LeBron James, especially if Anthony doesn’t take the max salary which gives the Lakers an option of signing both of them for $16 million each.
The Knicks are still hoping that their pitch is the best. They can offer more money than anyone, Phil Jackson holds a special place in their attractiveness and he city itself, where Anthony prefers living, might be even the biggest selling point. But again, Anthony is thinking championship, and all of a sudden, the combination the Lakers are offering him looks like the best one out there.
There are many moving parts that are connected. The decision of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony has something to do with each other. They might be even talking with one another in order to coordinate their next move. Kobe Bryant has been involved in convincing Anthony to come over all through this week. It’s hard to read a player’s mind, but from everything we’re getting through sources, the Lakers are in the best position to end up with the spoils.