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NBA free agency 2014: Lakers are serious contenders to sign Carmelo Anthony

Although the consensus assumption is that Carmelo Anthony will likely  re-sign with the New York Knicks on a five-year, $129 million, things could change quickly as the Los Angeles Lakers have now entered the picture as serious contenders for the seven-time All-Star services, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Lakers meet Anthony on Thursday for nearly three hours and were said to have told him that were willing to offer him a max contract at four years, $95 million. Kobe Bryant was not able to make it back on time from his family vacation for the sit down, but the two met up later that night to discuss the possibility of teaming up in Los Angeles.

The Lakers now joining the Knicks and Chicago Bulls as the likely destinations for Anthony. The Bulls were the first team to hold a meeting with the 30-year-old on Tuesday and it was said to have gone “very well.” New York led by team president Phil Jackson flew to Los Angeles to speak with Anthony on Thursday and had offered the max contract, which is $30 million more than any other team can give, but he did not give the Knicks his final decision. He is said to be on board with the team’s plan to have him as a centerpiece, and use him in the recruiting process over the next offseasons as they will have plenty cap space to land a top free agent or two.

However, one thing that could become an issue is that Anthony is reportedly still bothered by Jackson’s suggestion for him to take less money. If the Lakers were to somehow land the 11-year veteran, his signing would take almost their entire current salary cap space and limit their ability to sign another player. If still interested, Pau Gasol could re-signing with Los Angeles despite the cap space limitation as the team holds his Bird rights, which allows them to ink him to a deal even it puts them over the salary cap threshold.

Multiple reports have stated that Gasol may be interested in returning if the Lakers are able to land Anthony. This all remains to be seen as Anthony is still in the process of making his decision, which could very well have him return to New York. Along with Anthony Los Angeles met LeBron Jamesagent on Friday in Cleveland, and were said to have also offered him a max contact.  They are joining a short list of teams that is interested in James that includes the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and Phoenix Suns.

A decision from both James and Anthony are expected to come within the next few days.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Common

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Bob Garcia IV

Staff Writer at Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He is also currently covering the NBA and NFL for ClutchPoints. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarciaivsports.
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