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.
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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.