Los Angeles star rules out trying to lure ‘Melo to the Lakers.
He has been the face of almost every team he has played for in his lifetime, sharing it only occasionally with other big names.
So when Kobe Bryant wants to offer you advice about free agency and how it can shape your career – it would be smart to take it.
Bryant said his door would always be open to one of his closest friends in the NBA, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who is the subject of numerous free agency rumors currently.
After making the high-profile move from Denver to the Knicks, success has continued to elude Anthony, something Bryant has and hasn’t achieved in different parts of his career.
Anthony recently set a new career and franchise record of points in a game with 62, but his mostly stellar individual play this season has not helped his side, with New York slumping to 16-27 and in real danger of missing the playoffs.
“It is hard, from a psychological perspective as a player, you don’t want to get too frustrated about things that you can’t control,” Bryant said of Anthony and the Knicks this season.
“You have to find that balance. At the same time, it is important for the organization to understand the level of competitiveness that you have, that you won’t tolerate having a team that is not in contention for an NBA championship, which is what I did.
“It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way but sometimes you got to kick down a few doors and piss some people off and trust that it will pay off in the long run. If you are willing to do that, more times than not, you will be OK.”
Bryant tried to force a trade from the Lakers in the summer of 2007 when he felt like the organisation was content on him selling tickets with his scoring ways, rather than spending money to surround him with talent for another title run. The Lakers responded with trading for Pau Gasol the next season, a move that ushered in championships Nos. 4 and 5 of Bryant’s career.
And with the Lakers looking to re-tool through free agency rather than the draft, Bryant said Los Angeles could be more appealing than New York in some ways.
“Well, everybody wants to play in Los Angeles,” Bryant said before the Lakers’ 110-103 loss to the Knicks on Sunday when asked about Anthony’s potential interest in joining him in purple and gold.
“I mean New York is a beautiful place, don’t get me wrong, but it is colder than s— out here. You know, palm trees and beaches obviously are a little more appealing.
“All jokes aside, I think that players, when that time comes, will have to make the best decision for them and their families. I try not to think about it too much. If he wants to call me for advice later as a friend, I will be more than happy to give it to him.”
Anthony can opt out of the final year of his contract with the Knicks to become a free agent come July 1.
If he chooses to re-up with the Knicks, he could ink a five-year contract worth $129,135,806. If he signs with another team, like the Lakers, the maximum he can earn is $95,897,372 over four years.