Lakers stay patient as Carmelo Anthony mulls over options

Lakers stay patient as Carmelo Anthony mulls over options
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, right, tries to drive past Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham during a game in March. The Lakers have expressed interest in signing Anthony. (Jim Mone / Associated Press)

Day No. 8 came and went without a commitment from Carmelo Anthony.

To the Lakers. To the New York Knicks. The Chicago Bulls. To anybody.


He remained "torn" on his decision, the New York Daily News attributed to an unnamed friend of Anthony's, and the Lakers remained very much in limbo.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak has been in contact with Anthony's representatives on a regular basis. Kobe Bryant has also had continual conversations with the high-scoring forward.

If Anthony agrees to join the Lakers, another commitment is expected to come quickly from Pau Gasol, who wants to return to the Lakers but wants them to have a stronger roster.

Until then, the Lakers sit around and wait.

They've done this before on a smaller scale, not re-signing Lamar Odom until the last day of July in 2009, a valuable piece of a championship team who helped take them to another one in 2010.

This is different.

This is trying to entice a player to leave more money on the table and turn his back on the city where he grew up and the team he called home the last 3 1/2 seasons.

But how much money would he really leave behind if he chose the Lakers over the Knicks?

On paper, he would accept a four-year, $95.9-million contract instead of a five-year, $129.1-million deal.

In reality, New Jersey-based certified public accountant Robert Raiola said Anthony would net closer to $66.7 million with the Knicks after taxes, compared to $49.3 million with the Lakers.

New York's offer would still be larger, but by a more modest $17.4 million.

Independent salary cap expert Larry Coon argued the comparison itself was moot, unless the player was primarily focused on guaranteed salary.

"Comparing a four-year contract to a five-year contract is like comparing apples to oranges," Coon told The Times. "A player who signs a four-year contract can presume he will sign for a fifth year down the line. It's not a matter of leaving that money on the table, it's a matter of locking in that money, and his future value, right now."

Anthony, who won an NCAA title at Syracuse, would be 34 after a four-year contract, eligible for another three-year deal.


"For Anthony, other factors may come into play," Coon said. "There could be a new collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players' union in 2017. It could very well be more favorable to the players.

"In addition, the NBA is expected to negotiate a new national television deal in 2016, which could significantly increase revenues and salaries. Anthony could take advantage by timing his next free agency for 2017."

From the beginning, the Lakers have appealed to Anthony's business sense, pitching him on the one thing they have over New York — Hollywood instead of Wall Street.

Executives from Time Warner Cable and AEG made presentations at the Lakers' sit-down with Anthony last Thursday. Movie producer Joel Silver also made an appearance and showed Anthony a four-minute trailer he created about Anthony's career.

Another thing mentioned in the meeting was a possible venture for Anthony's wife, Alani "La La" Vazquez, a TV personality who has been the centerpiece of a reality TV series for almost three years — "La La's Full Court Life."

At the same time, though, the Lakers also told Anthony they didn't need him to sell tickets.

They needed something different than that from him. They needed his help to win more games.

Bresnahan is a Times staff writer. Pincus is a Times correspondent.