While the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks have wined and dined Carmelo Anthony and were thought of as the biggest competition in signing him, it was thought all along that he would come back to the New York Knicks, as they can offer him the most money.
End of story.
However, we shouldn't count our chickens before they hatch, as word has spread like wildfire that the Los Angeles Lakers have become a significant player in the Anthony free-agent sweepstakes.
In a surprising twist, the Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as the team that most worries the New York Knicks in their attempt to re-sign superstar free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.
While the Knicks remain confident in their chances to convince Anthony to return to the Big Apple, the Lakers' pitch — of teaming Anthony with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and prized rookie Julius Randle on a team with no long-term salary obligations — made what one source described as a "strong impression" on Anthony, who is living and training in Los Angeles this summer, and has made his decision over the holiday weekend "tough," according to another source close to the situation.
There was a growing sense circulating through the league Sunday that Anthony is likely to choose between the Knicks and the Lakers, who are the only two teams that can offer him max money without needing to make roster moves first. New York can offer him a five-year deal worth $129 million, while Los Angeles can offer a four-year deal valued at $97 million.
They key in all this is the relationship between Anthony and Knicks' new president Phil Jackson.
These two parties need to see eye to eye and be on the same page. They have to have faith in each other and that together that they can turn the Knicks' fortunes around. Basically, Anthony has to buy what Jackson is selling and trust him through the process. After al, Jackson relented and offered Anthony a max contract.
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
Also of significance is Anthony's family's role in his decision. His wife La La has stated numerous times she loves New York (although you can understand the appeal to her by moving to Hollywood) and Anthony on many occasions has also said uprooting his kid from New York was not an ideal situation for him and his family.
And of course, as it always does, it may just come down to money. As you probably full-well know, the Knicks can offer the most money, upwards of more than $32 million than any other team.
A lot of people are calling this is a 50-50 race but when push comes to shove, the prevailing thought is he will stay in New York. This could all end in the next day or two, so it should be tense time for Knicks' fans as Anthony finally puts this soap opera to rest.
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