According to Lakers team sources, Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com and Brian Windhorst report the Lakers are preparing to make a run at LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony next summer. The veracity of the attempt leaves a lot to be desired, but Lakers fans are giddy at the prospect after losing out on Dwight Howard this summer.
Per Shelburne at ESPNLosAngeles.com:
Opinions are split on whether the Lakers can actually land James or Anthony, with one source calling it “realistic” and another saying it was “far-fetched at this point.” Nonetheless, the Lakers have made it clear they are positioning themselves for a run at one and perhaps even two of the superstars who could become free agents in 2014, by refusing to commit to any contract past this next season, multiple sources have said.
Both LeBron and ‘Melo can exercise early terminations on oftheir current deals with the Heat and Knicks next summer, effectively making them free agents in less than a year’s time.
Miami’s other two stars, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, can also become free agents, with all three Heat stars holding a player option for the 2015-16 season. But unlike the 2009 season with the Cavs, a league source tells Shelburne LeBron isn’t thinking about the summer of 2014 right now; LeBron’s primary concern is the Heat’s attempt at a three-peat next season.
“It’s all wishful thinking at this point,” a league source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN. “Teams are doing more wishing than LeBron is wanting right now.
“It’s not about where LeBron wants to go [to win]. He already has two rings. If LeBron moved to Reno, teams would come to him.”
But for Anthony, it’s not so simple. A source close to the Anthony situation told ESPN it “makes sense” for Anthony to use his early termination option in order to secure a longer four- five-year extension with the Knicks. If he does opt-out, it could be the opening the Lakers need.
Kobe Bryant, who will make over $30 million with the Lakers this season, would need to take a significant pay cut for the ‘Melo, ‘Bron signings to happen, but in terms of contract negotiations, Kobe might not be so open to a loss of income, Bryant recently said, “As a businessman the goal is always to not take a pay cut, but…” and that but could be the difference if it really comes down to adding LeBron and ‘Melo.
Bryant also told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin last week that he plans to be involved in the Lakers’ 2014 free agency plans:
“It’s an open conversation, via text and also meeting in person and just picking up the phone and calling,” Bryant said of his involvement. “They’ve kept me in the loop pretty well.”
Knicks and Heats fans are shuddering at this whole thing, but we won’t know for sure until next summer.
Do you think the Lakers have any chance of landing both superstars next summer?
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