Knicks, Lakers go one-on-one for Carmelo Anthony

New York blue or L.A. gold? A decision from Carmelo Anthony between the two is imminent.  New York blue or L.A. gold? A decision from Carmelo Anthony between the two is imminent. 

The waiting game continued through the holiday weekend, but Monday finally could be the day that Carmelo Anthony makes a decision about his future — likely coming down to the Knicks or the Lakers.

Anthony also visited with Chicago, Houston and Dallas after the NBA’s free-agency frenzy opened on Tuesday, but the seven-time All-Star was said to be mulling maximum allowable deals from Phil Jackson’s former and current teams since his final two meetings on Thursday with the Lakers and the Knicks in Los Angeles.

According to multiple tweets on Sunday by Josh Rebholz — UCLA’s senior associate athletic director for external relations — and Bruins assistant coach David Grace, Anthony worked out and played pickup ball on campus with Lakers star Kobe Bryant and former UCLA standout Kevin Love. That trio, teammates on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, all live in the Los Angeles area during the offseason.

But those tweets were later taken down amid other reports that Love wasn’t there.

Jackson, the Hall of Fame coach hired by the Knicks as team president in March, has said multiple times that he hoped Anthony would accept less money to aid the team’s rebuilding plan. But the Knicks extended their leading scorer a max offer of five years at $129 million last week, while the Lakers — whose team president is Jackson’s fiancee Jeanie Buss — countered with the maximum allowable offer for opposing teams, a four-year contract worth $96 million.

Anthony’s other suitors all would have to make other roster moves to create cap space to approach that level. Barring a sign-and-trade involving Carlos Boozer, the most the Bulls can offer Anthony is a four-year deal worth around $70 million.

Reports on Saturday said that Anthony was strongly considering the Lakers’ offer after executives from Anschutz Entertainment Group and Time Warner Cable pitched him Thursday on everything the L.A. market has to offer. The Lakers also unveiled a four-minute trailer by movie producer Joel Silver of Anthony’s life, which was narrated by actor Tobey Maguire. Anthony’s wife, La La, a reality TV star and budding actress, also would benefit from a switch to L.A.

The Lakers also met Friday with Rich Paul, the agent for Heat star LeBron James, although it appears more likely that they will try to re-sign Pau Gasol and add the 30-year-old Anthony alongside Bryant, who is recovering from a knee injury.

For James and Anthony to team up with the Lakers, they each would have to accept deals worth around $16 million per year.

Gasol also is being courted by the Knicks; they expect to have significant cap space in the summer of 2015 when the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani will expire.

Still, within those constraints, Jackson has been working on improving the Knicks’ roster to Anthony’s pleasing for next season, specifically with a deal to upgrade the point guard position. The Zen Master obtained Jose Calderon at the head of a package from Dallas in the trade that jettisoned Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.

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