Knicks' Carmelo Anthony predicts another comeback for Kobe Bryant

Knicks forward is the latest to predict another return for Kobe, whose last three seasons were cut short by in

It's been heard before, and quite a bit in recent years: Kobe Bryant will come back from (insert injury here) and prove everybody wrong.

It was uttered again by Carmelo Anthony, the latest to predict a productive return for Bryant, whose season ended after only 35 games because of a torn rotator cuff.

"It was tough for me because I know how hard he worked," the Knicks forward said. "And he did work to get back from the [torn] Achilles' and he worked even harder to get back from his [fractured] knee. Now it's shoulder surgery."

Bryant has had his last three seasons cut short because of injuries.

He hasn't officially said it yet, but people familiar with his thinking are confident he will return for the final season of his contract. He will turn 37 in August and stand to collect $25 million next season.

"Oh, he'll be back," Anthony said. "He's going to prove to everybody that he's coming back. He'll be back for sure."

Bryant will need about nine months of recovery and rehabilitation after undergoing shoulder surgery last Wednesday.

Here's the pitch

The Lakers wooed Anthony as a free agent last July. It didn't work. He took substantially more money to return to the Knicks.

But he liked what he saw from the Lakers, who asked movie producer Joel Silver to put together a four-minute "trailer" of Anthony's life, narrated by Tobey Maguire.

"It was a great pitch," Anthony said. "I might take that from them, take what they did and start recruiting on my own over here."

Lakers business vice president Tim Harris quarterbacked the business side of the meeting. Other speakers included James Worthy, and team executives Jeanie Buss, Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss.

Representatives from Anschutz Entertainment Group and Time Warner Cable talked to Anthony about the size and scope of the Los Angeles market.

Anthony particularly liked the trailer, which was entitled "Third Act." The first act centered on his early NBA career, the second part touched on struggles in Denver and New York, and the third act was about a Lakers future, interspersed with images of the city of Los Angeles and Lakers legends such as George Mikan and Elgin Baylor.

"Yeah, the film, I wish I could get my hands on that," Anthony said. "It was a good film."

After narrowing his choice to the Lakers, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and New York, Anthony signed a five-year, $124-million deal with the Knicks. The Lakers could offer only four years and $95.9 million.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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