December 25, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) greets New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) following the 100-94 victory at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers Favorites For Carmelo? Decision Expected Monday

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Please join me in re-welcoming the Los Angeles Lakers to the high rollers table. Dr. Jerry Buss, being the high stakes gambler that he was, would be impressed by what the Lakers front office is trying to pull off.

It all started on Saturday when Grantland’s Bill Simmons unleashed a bomb on twitter: Carmelo Anthony, the 30-year old 7-time All-Star, was incredibly impressed by the pitch the Lakers made to him and had vaulted the purple and gold into serious contention for his services.

Then Adrian Wojnarowski, the dean of breaking NBA news, confirmed the report by Simmons stating that the Lakers were in fact “in the game”.

The Lakers pitch to Carmelo Anthony included members of the front office, Time Warner Cable, and Hollywood types who wooed Carmelo on both the hardwood and business fronts. According to reports, Pau Gasol is a major reason why Carmelo Anthony is interested in signing with the Lakers and Gasol would apparently re-sign with the Lakers if the team signs Anthony or LeBron James

Oh yes, did we mention LeBron James is somehow connected to this story? Shortly after meeting with Anthony in Los Angeles, both Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Lakers Senior vice president of Business Operations Tim Harris flew to Cleveland to meet with Rich Paul, LeBron’s agent. While it is extremely unlikely that the Lakers would be able to land LeBron, and even more inconceivable to sign James AND Anthony, it is possible. There is a scenario is which the Lakers could use the stretch provision on Steve Nash and clear about $30M to use on James and Anthony. 

The Lakers have offered Anthony and James max level contracts; however, there is room for discussion, especially if they want to play together. In their meeting with Anthony the Lakers offered a 4-year, $97M deal. The New York Knicks, now run by Phil Jackson, has promised to offer Carmelo the full max deal, which would be approximately 5-years, $130M.  Anthony has met with the Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, Mavericks, and Rockets; however, executives around the league now believe that Carmelo is deciding between the Knicks and the Lakers. According to reports the race is a dead heat. Anthony owns homes in both cities and lives in Los Angeles during the offseason. 

So, when will Carmelo Anthony make his decision and will he become a Los Angeles Laker? It looks like tomorrow may be the day. 

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony Julius Randle Kobe Bryant LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol

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