Once NBA free agency gets underway on July 1, the Los Angeles Lakers intend to make their best sales pitch to Carmelo Anthony. The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls are all expected to do the same while the New York Knicks hope he considers returning.
It won’t be an easy sell for the Lakers with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne claiming Anthony wants the storied franchise to upgrade their roster before he considers signing with Los Angeles:
The Lakers are in the advantageous position of having enough room under the salary cap to make a maximum offer to Anthony without having to clear any salary, but it is believed Anthony would want them to strengthen their roster before he would seriously consider a move to L.A. Sources say the Lakers, to that end, have been exploring their options with the No. 7 pick in Thursday’s draft and have told teams they are prepared to package the pick with the expiring contract of Steve Nash (owed $9.7 million next season) for the right offer.
With only three players under contract and no trade assets outside of the seventh pick in the NBA draft, the Lakers may find it difficult to strengthen the roster in hopes of luring Anthony to Los Angeles.
As Shelburne suggests, the Lakers have been dangling their lottery pick and Steve Nash in trade packages. Although Nash’s contract isn’t all that appealing, the Lakers might be able to find a suitor for the 40-year-old with the draft pick attached.
The most recent trade rumor involving Nash has the Lakers sending the two-time NBA MVP and the seventh pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young.
Adding the reigning Rookie of the Year and Young could make Los Angeles a more appealing destination for Anthony. Another rumor surfaced on Monday that the team will target Kyle Lowry in free agency. Lowry’s presence would also be a step in the right direction for the Lakers, but it might be all about timing to land Anthony with the Rockets, Bulls, Knicks and Mavs intent on trying to sign the veteran forward.
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