On Tuesday, reports surfaced that the Lakers as an organization don’t believe that they can bring in free-agent-to-be LeBron James this summer. There are a lot of implications surrounding the potential prevention of the Lakers bringing in — or even going after — James, and those could remain true for another marquee free agent whose name has been linked to the Lakers.
According to News Day, the New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was interviewed by Bloomberg Television and was asked about potentially opting out of his contract and fleeing New York for a change of scenery.
Carmelo Anthony can become a free agent after the upcoming season, but he gave the strongest indication yet that his plan is to re-sign with the Knicks.
“I’m not going nowhere,” Anthony said during an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg Television’s “Market Markers.”
Anthony forced his way out of Denver to get back home and bring a championship back to Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1973. In the interview, he said that he embraced the challenge of bringing a title back to New York, something that others would shy away from.
“That is one of the reasons why I wanted to come here to New York, just so I could take on those pressures and those challenges,” Anthony said. “A lot of people do not like to deal with the pressure. A lot of people do not know how to deal with the challenges they face. To me, it is everyday life.”
Should Anthony pick up the option for his remaining year after this season, he would be paid $23.3 million. However, it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll opt out of his final year to become an unrestricted free agent. If so, the Lakers immediately become a player in the Anthony sweepstakes, but the Knicks, who have his Bird Rights, can pay him much more.
At the most, the Lakers would be able to give Anthony a four-year, $96 million contract. The Knicks would be able to offer him a max deal worth five years and $123 million. While we’ve seen a certain Lakers big man leave the extra year and money on the table to head to Texas, that was likely an outlying situation that is unlikely to be replicated en masse among all big time free agents.
We’re still about 10 months until free agents are able to sign with new teams. There is a lot of basketball to be played, a lot of organizational moves to be made, and a lot of pitches to be given to these free agents. While the summer of 2015 may look a little grim in early September, the picture could become more vivid come next July.
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