Carmelo treated to crucial call from Magic Johnson at Lakers pitch

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Carmelo Anthony is still yet to unveil his free agency decision but it is believed the Los Angeles Lakers sit alongside the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks as the likely destinations for the seven-time all-star.

The Lakers were not thought to be major players before free agency began but they wowed Melo with an impressive pitch in Los Angeles last week.

And with news today that franchise legend Magic Johnson took time out of his European vacation to call and welcome Anthony at the Staples Center it is hardly surprising that the Lakers chances sky rocketed.

Pitch Perfect

The Lakers pulled out all the stops to impress Carmelo Anthony, utilising all that was at their disposal to mask the fact that at present the franchise has very little chance of winning on the basketball court.

As well as creating a four minute long ego-boosting video narrated by Hollywood A-lister Tobey McGuire, the Lakers front office also reportedly laid out an intricate business plan showing the potential value of moving to such a big market team.

Add to that an offer from Times Warner Cable for Melo and his wife La La to front their own reality show in LA and a delayed meeting with Kobe Bryant (which may or may not have included a pick up game) and you can see why Anthony may be tempted by a move to California.

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Magic from Magic

The pièce de résistance however may well have been the touch of class from Magic Johnson. Having never won an NBA title, Anthony is looking to find a place where he can challenge. Obviously after a dreadful season in which the Lakers finished with a 27-55 record those in charge knew they had to pull out the Ace card.

What better than having a five-time champion, three-time NBA MVP and face of the Showtime era call up from across the pond to explain to Melo just what it is like to be adored by the Lakers fan base and the inevitable endorsement potential that affords.

Melo mulling over decision

The pitch has put the Lakers in with a shout of securing Carmelo Anthony next season but they know they face stiff competition.

The Chicago Bulls have long been thought the front runners with the likes of Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose working on Anthony for much of last season. And the New York Knicks, his most recent team, have seen their chances improve following a positive meeting between Anthony and president Phil Jackson.

It looks likely that we will finally know Anthony's decision in the next couple of days but with Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson having worked their magic on Melo last week the odds on the player opting for LA have certainly improved.

Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers

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