With Dwight Howard leaving the team, Metta World Peace amnestied and Kobe Bryant recovering from a torn Achilles, the Los Angeles Lakers have braced themselves for a painful year. But the storied franchise has no plans of being terrible over an extended period of time — the team will be making a run at both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James next summer.
The Los Angeles Lakers, whose plan to re-sign center Dwight Howard did not pan out this offseason, are poised to rebuild fast by focusing on the two biggest free agents of 2014 –LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, front-office sources have told ESPN.
Both Melo and LeBron have player options for next season and even if they were to stay put, it’s quite likely they’ll opt out and explore the open market. The Lakers have a lot of cap space next summer and seem to be willing to make a splash by adding two superstars next to Kobe. Bryant will likely sign for less than a max contract in order to help the Lakers add players around him, so financially this could probably be done.
While it is feasible, it does seem like a bit of a long shot. First of all, I struggle to see LeBron playing on the same team as Kobe. James has brought two championships to the Miami Heat and while both Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade seem to have declined a little, it’s hard seeing James just abandoning his teammates like that. The thing with Miami is that you can’t really call what is going to happen in a year. If the Big 3 would manage to three-peat, the three superstars could very well opt out and re-sign, with Bosh and Wade possibly taking even less money and the Heat adding more pieces to the championship puzzle.
Anthony landing in LA, however, is not as far-fetched as you might think. Amar’e Stoudemire is no longer on his last legs — he is crawling, and unless he retires, the Knicks will be tied down with a similar roster for a couple more years. Does Melo really want to stay with a team that has essentially no shot at getting past the second-round of the playoffs, or would he head elsewhere while still in his prime? The latter sounds like the better option.
LA is an attractive market and with a lot of cap space it would not be a surprise if the Lakers landed a legit superstar next summer. Whether it will be LeBron, Melo, or both, remains to be seen.