HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Carmelo Anthony in purple and gold doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all, at least not to the Los Angeles Lakers.
In fact, the Lakers, long considered a long-shot to land the All-Star free agent forward, are reportedly prepared to offer Anthony a 4-year, $95 million contract, the maximum amount any team (other than the New York Knicks) can offer.
The pairing of Anthony and Kobe Bryant, his two-time gold medal-winning teammate on the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team, would give the Lakers the Hollywood buzz they’ve been lacking the past two seasons as they’ve stumbled from their perch among the Western Conference and NBA elite.
The Knicks, of course, can offer ‘Melo a fifth-year and $34 more million than anyone else. And according to multiple reports, that’s exactly what the Knicks have done.
Anthony visited Chicago, Houston and Dallas this week, getting the red carpet treatment on each stop. None of those suitors offers the added spice that comes with the Los Angeles market (Anthony’s wife LaLa is an actress/entertainer/journalist). Only New York can offer a comparable set of circumstances in that regard, plus that extra $34 million.
Spicing up the 4th of July weekend is the news that the agent for LeBron James, Rich Paul, has been conducting meetings with teams interested in luring his client away from Miami with the same max offer the Lakers are using to attract Anthony.
The Lakers have focused their attention on Anthony and James, trying to figure out if there is a way to unite them with Bryant. But it’s unclear if the Anthony and James are working in concert this summer.
Paul is in the process of narrowing down the list of legitimate suitors to three finalists for James, per a Yahoo! Sports report, with face-to-face meetings with James and his camp next week in Cleveland.
If Anthony makes his decision before then, we’ll have our answer about whether or not he and James had a joint plan for free agency. In the meantime, Lakers fans are left to wonder what a Bryant-Anthony tandem would look like in Los Angeles …