Here’s a story that’s going to hover over the basketball world until next summer: Carmelo Anthony’s pending free agency. The star forward can opt out of his contract at the end of this season and become a free agent and the Lakers will have plenty of cap space to spend on a marquee guy like Anthony. With the Lakers and Knicks playing in the country’s two biggest media markets, Anthony to the Lakers rumors will be flying all season long.
Today’s news comes by the way of The Knicks Blog with Anthony saying that he doesn’t expect Kobe Bryant to recruit him to head to Los Angeles.
“No, I think Kobe respects me as a ballplayer, as a person, as a friend, so I don’t think none of them phone calls will be coming next,” Anthony said Friday after practice.
Of course, even if Anthony was expecting some sort of recruitment from Bryant, it would be illegal during the season as players discussing those kinds of matters would be considered tampering. It is known that Bryant and Anthony have become friends over the years, and it wouldn’t come as a shock to anyone if those two wanted to play together in Los Angeles.
Anthony has also been keeping an eye on the recovery of Bryant, saying that he doesn’t know when he’s going to come back, but believes that Bryant can come back and play at a high level.
“What is he, 35?,” he said. “Yeah, I mean he’s a guy who’s gonna go get it. He’s known for putting in the work, he’s known for being in the gym. He’s dedicated. He’s determined. His mindset is one of those mindsets I haven’t seen in a person in a long time.”
The Lakers know that Bryant’s days as a professional basketball player are numbered and that they’re going to have to find someone to fill the role as the face of the franchise once he retires. It could be Anthony, and it could be a number of other current and future basketball players. For now, Anthony to Los Angeles will be hanging over us for the next nine months.
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