The meeting is over. Now the waiting begins.
The Los Angeles Lakers pulled out all the stops on Thursday when they met with unrestricted free agent Carmelo Anthony for over two hours at their practice facility in El Segundo. Kobe Bryant, who cut his European vacation short in order to fly back to L.A. and be a part of the purple and gold’s pitch, wasn’t at the meeting due to the start time being brought forward, though the five-time NBA champion plans to meet with Anthony later on Thursday, according to a report by Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne from ESPN Los Angeles.
The Lakers also made it clear during their meeting that they aren’t afraid to splash the cash, and extended a maximum salary offer to Melo worth $95 million over four seasons, according to the report.
The Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets would not be able to offer a maximum salary deal to Anthony without dismantling their team. The New York Knicks, however, can offer Carmelo a contract worth $129 million over five years.
While Bryant was absent during the Lakers’ pitch, Jeanie and Jim Buss lead the way, along with general manager Mitch Kupchak, chief operating officer Tim Harris and executives from Time Warner Cable SportsNet and AEG.
The Lakers also used their Hollywood connections to put together a short “trailer” of Anthony’s life, according to Mike Bresnahan from the L.A. Times. Joel Silver – who has worked on blockbusters such as The Matrix, Die Hard and Lethal Weapon – produced the movie and was present at the meeting, while actor Tobey Maguire narrated the four-minute film. Both Silver and Maguire are Laker fans.
Lakers legend James Worthy was also involved in the pitch.
The Lakers’ meeting with Anthony went “really well,” per one ESPN source, who also revealed that the purple and gold think they “have a shot” at landing the 30-year-old, who is expected to stay in L.A. over the weekend while he makes a decision.
Anthony will now reportedly meet with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks before rendezvousing with Bryant at an undisclosed location.