The New York Daily News reported Friday that free agent Carmelo Anthony was expected to sign a five-year, $129 million contract to remain with the New York Knicks.
But it appears as though another team is still in the running, and Anthony has yet to make his final decision.
The Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as the Knicks’ biggest threat to steal Anthony away via free agency, sources told ESPN.com Saturday night. The Lakers’ pitch, which took place on Thursday, reportedly made a “strong impression” on Anthony.
Kobe Bryant was unable to attend the team’s meeting with Anthony, though the two have been in constant contact since the season ended. Anthony is training and living in Los Angeles this summer.
ESPN reports from Friday indicated that the Lakers offered the seven-time All-Star a maximum contract for four years at $97 million. The Knicks have also verbally offered Anthony a larger five-year, $129 million deal.
Pau Gasol remains key to the recruitment, as he would likely re-sign if Anthony landed in Los Angeles, according to ESPN sources. That would put Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Gasol and first-round draft choice Julius Randle on the same roster.
Bill Simmons was the first to report the change in Anthony’s thinking via Twitter.
The Chicago Bulls had been the Knicks’ top threat to sign Anthony prior to this weekend, but the team doesn’t currently have the cap space to offer him a max contract.