The LA Lakers made their pitch to the free-agent small forward.
The Lakers' meeting with the seven-time all-star went well, and according to Grantland's Bill Simmons the Carmelo sweepstakes is now a three-horse race between the Lakers, New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls.
Hearing the Lakers made a MAJOR impact on Melo this week - it's now a legit 3-way battle between LA/Chi/NYK to land him. Crazy NBA weekend.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 5, 2014
While the Purple and Gold were considered a long shot to lure the former scoring champion away from New York, Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that sources close to the star believe they are now in with a good chance.
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
With just four players under contract next the season the Lakers have almost £35 million in cap space, and have made it clear to Anthony that they would offer him a maximum-level four-year, $97 million deal.
The Knicks could offer a five-year, $129 million contract that would surpass the Lakers' offer, but they do not have the cap space to make other major moves beyond resigning Anthony.
The Bulls have a championship-caliber roster to surround Anthony with, but crucially they could only offer him around $16 million per year. That figure could shrink further if they buy out Euroleague MVP Nikola Mirotic, as expected.
The Lakers could sign Anthony and, unlike the other teams in the race for his signature, they could use their cap space to surround him players of his choice. They also have Anthony's friend and Olympic teammate on board in Kobe Bryant. The former MVP and Laker legend was late for the team's pitch, but met up with Anthony afterwards.