They believe they can pry Anthony away from a New York return even though he can make more money with the
They weren't certain they would be granted a sit-down with James, and even if they did, the belief around the league was that James would return to Miami if the
Anthony, 30, planned to meet with the Lakers on Thursday after opting out of a contract that would have paid him $23.3 million next season.
He will have visited Dallas, Houston and Chicago before arriving in Los Angeles, where he owns a home. His last visit, however, will be with the Knicks, the team that has employed him the last 3 1/2 seasons.
Each team faces pluses and pitfalls while pursuing Anthony, who averaged 27.4 points last season.
The Lakers finished 27-55 after injury-prone reality hit aging stars
But the Lakers have something none of the above teams can come close to matching — 16 championships.
Dallas has a solid nucleus to offer Anthony —
The main problem for Dallas is geography. The Mavericks are in the uber-competitive West, where they barely scraped into the playoffs with an eighth-place finish and then lost to San Antonio in a hard-fought seven-game series.
Houston already has two vital pieces in place: perennial All-Stars
Chicago is in the inferior East, presenting an easier path to the Finals, but there are questions about the health of injury-prone
Anthony loves New York and has seemingly found a home since his high-profile trade from Denver in 2011. But the Knicks are hamstrung by an overinflated payroll and didn't make the playoffs last season.
Still, they can rebuild in a year after the contracts of
And they can offer Anthony $129.1 million over five years, while any other team can offer the lesser sum of $95.9 million over four years.
One free agent the Lakers no longer need to track is one of their own.
The Lakers are sending first-round pick Julius Randle to a foot specialist in Indiana to determine if another surgery is required on his right foot.
Randle had a procedure on it about 18 months ago but played his freshman season at Kentucky without any major problems. Dr. David Porter, the foot specialist, will help decide whether a screw should be removed from Randle's foot.