For a team whose most famous courtside fan is Jack Nicholson, going Hollywood comes easily and natural for the Lakers.

It's a more cumbersome role for the Bulls, and not just because the franchise is currently more associated with grit than glitz.

As the Lakers used a video by the producer of "The Matrix" in their Thursday free-agent pitch to Carmelo Anthony, Bulls management had to fly all the way to Tinseltown to woo Pau Gasol, a backup plan to Anthony that is looking like a more realistic option.

Two days removed from the high of their well-received pitch to Anthony in Chicago, the Bulls continued to grasp the long odds regarding acquiring Anthony, who also met with Knicks President Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher later Thursday in Los Angeles.

A Yahoo Sports report stated Anthony also planned to reach out to Gasol to discuss him joining the Knicks, another in a growing set of signs that Anthony may re-up in New York. Joakim Noah, intimately involved in the Bulls' pitch to Anthony, has told several people he believes Anthony will re-sign with the Knicks.

Multiple media outlets reported both the Knicks and Lakers offered Anthony a maximum contract that surpasses the Bulls' financial means unless the team is gutted. Such an approach is typically against Bulls management's philosophy.

And even moves like trying to engage Jackson in sign-and-trade talks to increase Anthony's salary or selling off pieces other than Taj Gibson for nothing would happen only with a verbal commitment from Anthony.

The Bulls also left the Gasol meeting without a verbal commitment. A source familiar with the meeting, which Noah attended, said Gasol gave the impression that his decision isn't imminent. Gasol, who turns 34 on Sunday, has drawn heavy interest from a number of teams, including the Heat and Thunder.

The Knicks, as a taxpaying team, could offer Gasol only an exception starting at $3.28 million. Both the Thunder and Bulls could top that offer.

The Bulls would have roughly $10 million of salary-cap space if they choose the amnesty route on Carlos Boozer, a decision that isn't needed until July 10. In the meantime, the Bulls are keeping Boozer in the hopes they can trade him. This would not only eliminate them from a financial commitment to Boozer but also keep them above the salary cap and allow them to use exceptions to sign other pieces.

All along, this has been the preferred route for the Bulls' free-agency plans.

Those plans have to remain fluid as teams wait for decisions from Anthony and Gasol. If the Bulls land neither, they could become more aggressive in their pursuit of Real Madrid forward Nikola Mirotic. And they'd seek veteran depth from a market that won't spring loose until big fish like Anthony and LeBron James make the decisions.

Gasol has averaged 18.3 points over 14 NBA seasons, the last two spent battling injuries that cost him a total of 55 games. That included a bout with vertigo last season.

The Bulls also have made clear they'd like to re-sign Kirk Hinrich. Like many complementary players, his market is yet to be fully realized. Ideally for the Bulls, they would bring him back at a salary far reduced from his $4 million of last season.

kcjohnson@tribune.com

Twitter @kcjhoop