Lakers’ Free-Agent Pitch to Carmelo Anthony Has Makings of a Feel-Good Story

LOS ANGELES — The simple sales pitch is ready, and if Carmelo Anthony can be made to feel like Los Angeles is meant to be his home Thursday, the Lakers might really shock the world.   

Even though they are overwhelming underdogs in this free-agent hunt, the Lakers actually are not at all that lacking in confidence that they can get Anthony to choose them over the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.

And it sure would feel awfully good to be chosen over the other massive media markets and Dwight Howard's Texas folks, eradicating that jilted feeling Howard dealt the "Stay"-campaigning Lakers just last year.

It would change the Lakers' plans in a snap, with club management ready to shift gears to offer long-term dollars for others in pursuit of winning right now. And the Lakers would be back on the map in the critical sports category of relevance, which might not equate to official contender status but means an awful lot in the real world.

What is wholly unresolved is whether it would work basketball-wise for Anthony to choose the Lakers. It's tantalizing for Lakers fans to roll with the assumption that he and Kobe Bryant, despite the similarities in their games and the character soft spots Anthony has revealed, can make the team a championship contender again overnight.

It's a problem that the Lakers hope they'll have to solve, because it's clearly not stopping them from going all out to tell Anthony that he, unlike Howard, is worthy of being a Laker. And Bryant would be proud to have a friend to call his partner and successor to the purple and gold throne.

Lakers officials spent Wednesday mapping out their final approach for the Thursday meeting with Anthony in the city that he already knows he and wife La La love. The Lakers will try to explain how it fits him better than New York, but it won't be some Hollywood production.

The La...

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