Report: Carmelo Anthony On Lakers Radar in 2014 Free Agency
According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, 'Melo may prove more attainable than The King, prompting the Lakers to engage in some of their own Melodrama:
Armed with massive cap room, the Lakers will go shopping in 2014.
The franchise would love to lure LeBron James from Miami—but after his second straight title, and given the craftiness of Heat President Pat Riley, it may prove a futile hope.
Another high-scoring forward may be more attainable—New York Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony.
Phil Jackson even gives his endorsement of such a pursuit later on in the report.
For [the Lakers] to be able to move and to adjust to the process that goes on in the NBA, you have to have flexibility. The [way] the league is structured with its new CBA and how it penalizes teams—you can't make moves. [With] guys like Carmelo and LeBron in a couple of years, you've got to be capable of making a challenge for those kinds of players.
As if more fuel was needed to heighten this fire, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith says it's "50-50" that Carmelo winds up with the Lakers next summer.
Stephen A. says it's 50-50 Carmelo Anthony leaves New York next year and it's 50-50 he comes to the Lakers.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 8, 2013
Both 'Melo and LeBron have the ability to opt out of their current contracts next summer and become unrestricted free agents. As of now, Steve Nash is the only member of the Lakers under contract at that time. Los Angeles will have more than enough money to sign one (maybe even both).
Resting all of their eggs in James' basket is a risky play, though. Some wouldn't hesitate to call it inane.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh struggled during the Miami Heat's most recent postseason run, but James still has two rings to show for his efforts in South Beach. If he winds up winning or comes even remotely close to winning a third, prying him from Pat Riley's clutches isn't going to be easy.
That's another thing to consider—Riley. The ever-crafty, front-office sage has a knack for putting the right pieces in place. Even if the Heat fall short next season, there's always the chance he brings in a swarm of new talent to keep James in Miami.
Then there's the Cleveland Cavaliers to think about. Hiring Mike Brown suggests that they're not all James everything next summer, but Cleveland is James' "home." Seeing him spurn the Heat in favor of the team he abandoned in the first place is not out of the question.
Up against those types of obstacles, the Lakers need to have a Plan B that may inevitably need to become Plan A, hence their purported interest in 'Melo.
Unlike Riley and the Heat, the Knicks don't have a propensity for putting the right talent around 'Melo. New York is currently a mixture of one superstar ('Melo), two injury-prone big men (Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire), a promising youngster (Iman Shumpert) and a foray of fillers.
If and when the Knicks fall well short of winning a title once again, 'Melo may be tempted to leave his "home" in search of something greater, like a potential pairing with Kobe Bryant.
"I would actually like to play with Melo," Kobe told Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld back in 2011.
Which free agent will the Lakers sign in 2014?
Let rumors of collusion commence.
The Lakers were one of 'Melo's suitors back in 2011, when he was planning his escape from the Denver Nuggets. He wound up with the Knicks instead, where he is still equally as ring-less as he was then.
"I know I'm going to be here for a long time," Anthony said during his exit interview, according to Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York.
Forced to endure through another finish like the Knicks just had, perhaps 'Melo will be singing the same tune for the Lakers next summer.
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