Things may get awkward between Phil Jackson and his fiancée, Jeanie Buss, on Thursday.
Buss’ Los Angeles Lakers are meeting with Carmelo Anthony and his representatives in Los Angeles on Thursday, and according to ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin, team president Jeanie Buss will be in the meeting.
“The Anthony pitch will be spearheaded by Lakers president Jeanie Buss, executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss and Kupchak, according to a source with knowledge of the Lakers' plan.
"One key difference in the Lakers' pitch meeting with Anthony from the one they had with Dwight Howard last year will be the presence of Jeanie Buss, who has made it clear to the front office that she will do whatever is helpful to sell free agents on the franchise. The relationship between Jeanie Buss and brother Jim Buss has vastly improved in recent months, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne.”
The Lakers aren’t viewed by many as high on Anthony’s list. But Anthony lives in Los Angeles and is close with Kobe Bryant, so those factors -- and whatever the Lakers plan to show him during their face-to-face meeting Thursday -- may sway Anthony’s opinion.
It is unclear if Bryant will be a part of Los Angeles’ pitch, but he told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that he will help recruit Carmelo to Los Angeles.
Jeanie Buss’ presence has the potential to create an awkward situation, because Jackson, of course, is hoping to convince Anthony to re-sign with the Knicks.
New York can offer Anthony the most money -- a five-year contract worth $129 million. Other suitors can give Anthony a maximum deal worth four years and $96 million. The Lakers will have the cap space to offer Anthony a max contract.
But if Anthony signs a max deal, he and Bryant will combine to make $46 million in 2014-15. The salary cap is projected at $62.5 million. It will be difficult for the Lakers to build a team around Anthony and Bryant at those salaries.
As far as any potential conflict of interest regarding Carmelo, Jeanie and Phil, the NBA said at the time of Phil’s hiring that the league has parameters in place “to ensure that the relationship between Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson will not affect how the teams operate."
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