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December 25, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) greets New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) following the 100-94 victory at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony rumors: Los Angeles Lakers were hesitant to pursue Anthony

New York Knicks’ free agent Carmelo Anthony is the most popular person in the world right now, at least in the eyes of NBA executives. Anthony opted out of his contract with the Knicks and is currently an unrestricted free agent that every team in the league would like to get their hands on.

Anthony met with the Bulls in Chicago as free agency began on Tuesday and then made the trip to Texas on Wednesday. He had a lengthy meeting with the Houston Rockets followed by a short stay with the Dallas Mavericks before heading west to meet with the Lakers in Los Angeles. Adding Anthony if he wanted to be there seems like an easy choice for the Lakers, but that hasn’t always been the case.

According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, the Lakers were initially worried about teaming Anthony with Bryant unless the league’s best player, Miami Heat forward LeBron James, was coming with them.

As recently as the Chicago pre-draft camp, the Lakers, despite their cap space, had tepid interest in pairing Anthony with Kobe Bryant. They prefer trying to figure out a way to also add LeBron James.

Anthony is scheduled meet with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and executives Jim and Jeanie Buss, Jackson’s fiancée, and presumably Bryant.

“The prevailing feeling was they were going to wait to spend their cap space next summer, but they’ve become more proactive,’’ one NBA source familiar with the Lakers’ thinking said. “The two of them can get 55 points between them, but who else will score?’’

Anthony, who is reportedly “undecided” and “has an open mind,” put up 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game and shot 45.2% from the field, 40.2% from beyond the arc and 84.8% from the free throw line last season.


Tags: Carmelo Anthony Los Angeles Lakers NBA Free Agency New York Knicks Phil Jackson

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