Carmelo Anthony's free-agency tour continues on Thursday in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will make their pitch to the New York Knicks star. Los Angeles doesn't plan on rolling out the red carpet for Anthony like the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets did, instead opting for a more low-key approach, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
A big part of the Lakers' pitch will include selling Anthony on playing with both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. The 33-year-old Gasol is being courted by several contenders, including the Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. However, both Bresnahan and ESPN's Ramona Shelburne say Gasol would stay with the Lakers if they brought in Anthony.
Bryant will be a key part of the Lakers' pitch to Anthony, and he flew back to Los Angeles from a European vacation on Wednesday night.
Bulls pessimistic about landing Anthony?
The Bulls met with Anthony for nine hours on Tuesday, and everything seemed to go swimmingly. However, there have been some signs that Chicago is feeling pessimistic about its chances:
Pau Gasol Addendum No. 1: Sources say Bulls' rising interest in Pau IS indeed reflection of concern they can't convince Melo to leave NYK— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
The Bulls will meet with Gasol on Thursday, and the big man could represent a backup plan if Anthony doesn't come to Chicago.
The Bulls are an attractive suitor for Anthony, boasting a top-flight coach in Tom Thibodeau and big-time talent in Derrick Rose (if healthy) and Joakim Noah. But the financials could be a concern. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times first hinted the Bulls would initially try and sell Anthony on taking a contract with a first-year salary of about $15 million, and Marc Berman of the New York Post says Chicago offered a deal worth about $64 million over four years.
The Bulls don't want to trade Taj Gibson in order to clear cap space for Anthony, and the Knicks star has said he'd like Gibson around if he goes to Chicago. However, that limits what the Bulls can offer. Chicago could get to about $17 million in cap space if they amnesty Carlos Boozer and trade Mike Dunleavy, Tony Snell, Jimmy Butler and Anthony Randolph.
The Bulls would like to include Boozer in a deal for a signed-and-traded Anthony, but ESPN's Chris Broussard reiterated Wednesday the Knicks have little interest in such a deal.
Anthony meets with Mavs for 2 hours
While the Bulls and Rockets pulled out all the stops for Anthony, the Dallas Mavericks' meeting was much different, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein. This was later confirmed by Cuban himself:
"No tours. No banners. All basketball and business.'' -- #Mavs owner Mark Cuban via Cyberdust on Wednesday's meeting with Carmelo Anthony— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) July 3, 2014
Anthony met with Cuban at his mansion for two hours, selling the opportunity to contend immediately with Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler, Anthony's former teammate in New York. Cuban also said the Mavs would work hard to find creative ways to add another major piece in the summer of 2015.
Dallas will wait patiently for Anthony's decision, but they appear to be on the outside looking in of the sweepstakes. If the Mavs are rejected, they're ready for move quickly on Chandler Parsons or Luol Deng.
NBA Free Agency
Every signing and trade in one place
There's going to be a lot of player movement in the NBA this summer. Keep up to date with all of it in this place.
NBA Free Agency
Blazers put out 'feeler' to Blake
There have been no serious discussions as of yet, but the two sides are expected to talk further down the road. The Blazers could be in the market for a backup point guard if Mo Williams, who opted out of the final year of his contract, doesn't return.
Blake has plenty of familiarity with Portland, as the 34-year-old played nearly four seasons with the Blazers earlier in his career and has an offseason house in the area.
Knicks could still bring back K-Mart, interested in Booker
No matter what happens with Anthony, the Knicks could use some help in the frontcourt, especially with Chandler now out of the picture. New York may still be willing to bring back Kenyon Martin, according to Berman.
Martin has had a plethora of injury problems and recently underwent surgery on his left ankle. The Knicks do have the $3.278 mini mid-level exception to offer a possible upgrade, and Trevor Booker is reportedly on their radar.