Mar 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 93-92. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency Day 5: Lakers in the “Conversation” for Carmelo

Carmelo Anthony: Never considered serious contenders for Carmelo Anthony’s services, not until Thursday, the Lakers left a lasting impression with the free agent scorer. Their presentation made a huge impact. Now is the hard part for Carmelo as he decides which team to join for the next few years. At the very least he has to add one more team to the mix. The Knicks were always the favorite to land Carmelo, and the Bulls came in a close second. Now the Lakers, according to multiple sources, have pulled into a tie with the two frontrunners. Why? They can offer Carmelo the same annual salary as the Knicks. The Lakers also offer attractive pieces in Julius Randle and Pau Gasol.  Two big men with skills in the post mean Carmelo can go back to his regular position as a small forward. The burden of rebounding is not upon his shoulders. Nor is the entire offense. The relationship between Kobe and Carmelo has been well documented. It is that very relationship that may be the deciding factor, one way or another. And yet the fact remains: New York is home for Carmelo and his family. Can they drag him out of Manhattan?

Lebron James: For the same reasons Carmelo Anthony is considering the Lakers, so is Lebron James. The Lakers can give him a max deal. The possibility of a front court of Julius Randle and Pau Gasol means Lebron can go back to his normal position as small forward and not get beat up so much in the post. He can depend on skilled big men to chase rebounds and to post up allowing Lebron to create around the perimeter and find the open gaps. Having a second scorer with the skill of Kobe Bryant doesn’t hurt either.

Mar 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Bosh: His agent has been telephoning teams to make sure a max contract is on the table if Chris is available, if he decides to leave. As it stands right now the Miami Heat are in flux. They are asking free agents to take a financial hit and sacrifice for the good of winning a championship. Yet the Heat cannot assure anyone that Lebron James is going to be on the team. So that leaves the Heat in no-man’s land. They can’t acquire talent until Lebron James makes up his mind and by the time he makes up his mind players like Chris Bosh, who have been guaranteed by front office executives that he will get the maximum dollars available, may abandon the ship

Luol Deng: He met with Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra in Chicago. Spoelstra vowed to make Deng a central point of the offense with plays run specifically for him. For his part Deng reinforced his aversion to taking a pay cut. Earlier this year he turned down an extension from the Chicago Bulls, $10 million dollars.

Kent Bazemore: The hottest ex-Laker on the market is combo guard Kent Bazemore who is being wooed by several teams for a good reason. He is a good perimeter shooter. He can put the ball on the floor, get past his man and finish at the rim. And as young as he is, he excels at ball pressure and on ball defense. He has had meetings with Boston and San Antonio. Atlanta, Houston, Utah, Golden State, the Lakers, Phoenix and Dallas are all interested which sounds like the demand will drive up his price.

Devin Harris: He re-signed with the Dallas Mavericks which wasn’t a shock after they traded away Jose Calderon to the New York Knicks. His new contract is for 3 years, $9 million.

Tags: 2014 Free Agency Carmelo Anthony Los Angeles Lakers

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