Lakers Rumors: L.A. Smart to Offer Melo Max Deal

If you're going to go after the big fish, you better bring the best bait to the lake. That's exactly what the Los Angeles Lakers seem prepared to do with Carmelo Anthony.

The Lakers are entrenched in a battle with the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks for Anthony's services. L.A. is smartly putting its best foot forward.

Per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the team is ready to drop a max deal on the free-agent superstar:

The Lakers have almost no guaranteed salaries on their books—aside from Kobe Bryant's massive $23.5 million deal. Because of that, the team can afford to throw big dollars at Melo.

Some might argue that Melo isn't worth a maximum contract, but the numbers don't support that claim. Anthony has never averaged less than 21 points in his career, and at age 30, he is coming off arguably his best season.

He scored 27.4 points, pulled down 8.1 rebounds and dished 3.1 assists. He also shot 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from beyond the arc and made 85 percent of his free throws. In no other season has Melo been as efficient.

Because he keeps himself in solid physical condition, has never had a major injury and his game isn't predicated on athleticism, Anthony could perform at a high level for four more years.

Still, he couldn't lead the Knicks to the postseason in the lowly Eastern Conference last season. Therein lies the nucleus of most of the criticism against the seven-time All-Star. 

It's true, Anthony may not be the type of player who can hoist a team on his back and carry it to the postseason, but he is another elite scorer who would give the Lakers two of the major pieces needed to contend next season.

The other pieces missing from the puzzle are easier to find.

L.A. would need outside shooting in a major way. Floor spacing is key, and to keep defen...

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