NBA free agent Carmelo Anthony is meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers today as he continues talks with potential suitors. The New York Knicks swingman is considered the prize of the 2014 NBA free agent class, as teams increasingly believe LeBron James will return to Miami despite opting out of his deal.
With LeBron vacationing with his family, Anthony has met with representatives of the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. Chicago was considered an early front-runner to land the talented scorer who won the national title in college, but no championships as a pro.
No official word as to the result of their meeting with Anthony, but Chicago is already putting together offers for Lakers big man Pau Gasol an indicator that Anthony might be off their radar.
Another theory being floated is that Carmelo, whose never tested free agency, might be enjoying the attention while considering his options. Today’s meeting in Los Angeles will be attended by close friend Kobe Bryant, who flew in the L.A. from Brazil specifically to help persuade Anthony.
Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony have played together in two Olympic games, capturing gold for the U.S. in 2008 and 2012. They’d make a high scoring pair next year at the Staples Center, allowing that Kobe returns to previous form after suffering two major injuries in as many seasons.
While nobody knows what Anthony is thinking, sources in New York say he’s heavily favoring a return to Gotham. If he were to resign with the Knicks, he’d be playing under first year head coach Derek Fisher and new GM Phil Jackson. Jackson has won at every stop and potentially has the hardware to convince Anthony to stay home.
Anthony’s meeting with the Rockets yesterday including greats from team history, past and present. In addition to current Rockets guard James Harden, the Houston welcome party included coach Kevin McHale and Hall of Fame guard Clyde Drexler. The Rockets indeed pulling out all the stops.
The Mavericks pitch was more low key, if meeting at the home of a multi-billionaire can be considered quiet. Anthony was entertained at the home of Dallas owner Mark Cuban. Guests included Dirk Nowitzki and Rick Carlisle.
If Carmelo were to join the Lakers, he’d be one of few under contract. There are many roster holes to fill, a result of clearing cap space for free agent flexibility in Los Angeles. Where Carmelo Anthony lands nobody will know. The meetings continue as Anthony receives the “Dwight Howard treatment” he requested.