Carmelo Anthony Reportedly Deciding Between Knicks, Lakers

Wesley Mann
Carmelo Anthony

The free agent seems intrigued by the possibility of playing in L.A.

The battle for NBA forward Carmelo Anthony is shaping up to be an East Coast-West Coast rivalry.

The former Knick is likely to choose between returning to New York and joining the Los Angeles Lakers, according to reports from ESPN and The Wall Street Journal.

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The Knicks, which made a verbal offer of $129 million for five years, remain confident they can re-sign Anthony, ESPN reported.

But the Lakers’ pitch of teaming Anthony with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Julius Randle made a “strong impression” on Anthony, a source told ESPN. The NBA forward also felt as if he got mixed signals from the Knicks during his meeting with the team Thursday, a source told The Journal, with his camp being told he could have the maximum contract, while team president Phil Jackson continued to preach the virtues of taking less than the maximum.

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The Lakers made it clear to Anthony that they’d offer him the maximum four-year, $97 million contract they can, if he were to choose them.

Still, ESPN added that as of Sunday night, Anthony had not formally notified any of the teams he met with that they were out of contention. He had sit-downs with Chicago, Houston and Dallas before meeting with the Lakers and Knicks on Thursday. But, Chicago, Houston and Dallas all have less cap space than New York and L.A., The Journal noted.

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It’s possible that the Lakers also could sign LeBron James, possibly with Anthony, if each were willing to make around $16 million a season and the Heat and Knicks agreed to a sign-and-trade, ESPN added.