The Lakers have emerged as a franchise in "serious contention" for free agent Carmelo Anthony and have made a "major impact" on the Knicks star, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Bill Simmons of ESPN.
A New York Post report from Friday night had the Knicks appearing in position to keep the All-Star in New York. Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson had told Anthony during a meeting on Thursday that he could have the max deal of five years, $129 million if he wanted but the Post reported Anthony was thinking about taking less to give Jackson the flexibility to surround him with a formidable roster, much like the restructuring currently going on with Heat president Pat Riley and his core players.
Anthony had reportedly sought the contact information of free agent center Pau Gasol, who turns 34 on Sunday, to gauge his interest in coming to New York. Gasol, who made $19 million last season in his final year with the Lakers, is reportedly seeking upwards of $12 million per year. The Knicks would likely be able to offer the four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion only $4 million per season.
The Lakers, meanwhile, only have four players under contract next season -- including the $23.5 million owed to Kobe Bryant -- and can offer Anthony a max four-year, $97 million deal. As Wojnarowski previously reported, Anthony is expected to take the weekend in Los Angeles to make his decision.
The earliest free agents can sign is July 10.
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
Lakers have moved into serious contention on Carmelo Anthony, multiple sources tell Yahoo. "In the game now," one source close to Melo says. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2014
Around Carmelo Anthony, there's a belief that he plans to take the weekend in Los Angeles to make a decision on his free agency choice. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2014