Though the New York Knicks superstar will have loads of suitors once he reaches free agency this July, the Lakers are no longer expected to be among them, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
"The Lakers have cap space but sources maintain they aren’t too interested in Anthony as a fit with Kobe Bryant," he writes. "Nor is Lakers president Jeanie Buss enthralled with stealing Anthony from Jackson, her fiance."
Knicks fans who don't loathe Anthony are free to breathe a sigh of relief and bask in their good fortune.
Lakers fans, too. Melo isn't a good fit for your team.
Pushing 36, Bryant needs a young superstar sidekick—not a ball-dominant scorer approaching 30. Pairing him with Anthony could work, or it could have disastrous consequences. And finding out is too expensive. It would fleece the Lakers of all their available cap space, binding their future to a couple of aging superstars with overlapping offensive tendencies.
Overlooking Anthony is the smart play.
Last July, ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne revealed that the Lakers had eyes for both Anthony and LeBron James. That they appear to be moving on from at least half this plan is a sign of how much things have changed.
As for where Anthony will inevitably sign, that's still up for debate. More than a few teams will aggressively attempt to pry him out of New York, but like Berman notes, doing so won't be easy:
Anthony’s potential decision to re-sign with the Knicks may be by default. Two of his prime candidates, Houston and Chicago, still have to get far enough under the salary cap to make it worth it for Anthony. The Bulls may have to rid themselves of Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson on a squad that was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Plus, Anthony would be banking on the uncertain future of the oft-injured Derrick Rose.
The Rockets were also knocked out in the first round and need to get rid of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to get under the salary cap.
Convincing Anthony to spurn the Knicks will be complicated and predicated on him accepting a pay cut and any interested teams tinkering with their current salary structures accordingly.
Not even New York can rest easy on this matter. The Knicks can offer him more money than anyone else, but Phil Jackson doesn't want to go that route.
“The way things have been structured now financially for teams is that it’s really hard to have one or two top stars or max players,” he said in April, per the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola, “and to put together a team with enough talent you’ve got to have people making sacrifices financially.”
None of this is Los Angeles' concern anymore.
The Lakers are wisely out of the running for Anthony. They've likely been out of the running since Jackson joined the Knicks. Jeanie Buss wouldn't want to stir up trouble by bilking her boo of his best player, after all.
Maybe Jackson, as a "Thank you for making my ridiculously difficult job a little easier," can send her and the Lakers Raymond Felton, Andrea Bargnani and/or J.R. Smith in return.
*Salary information via ShamSports.
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