The Los Angeles Lakers would be tough to shut down with Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant on the roster.
Anthony is rumored to be one of Los Angeles' main targets in free agency in the summer of 2014. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times recently speculated that the Lakers could go after 'Melo hard if LeBron James stays in Miami, like many believe he'll do:
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.
Pincus isn't the only NBA insider who believes Anthony will end up in LA in 2014, either. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith says it's "50-50" that Carmelo plays for the Lakers in 2014-15, as noted by ESPN LA's Arash Markazi:
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
Even Phil Jackson, who is consulting with the Lakers these days, appears to be on board with the notion that the Lakers will pursue Anthony next summer, as reported by Pincus:
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.
Lakers fans appear to reject the notion that this would be a good move for the franchise, as Markazi noted:
Early response from the majority of Lakers fans on Twitter is they don't want Carmelo Anthony.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 8, 2013
It makes sense that people would scoff at the notion that Bryant and Anthony could coexist. Both players are high-volume shooters who love the ball in their hands, and it's a known fact that 'Melo and current Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni don't get along.
The D'Antoni beef won't be an issue.
After a second miserable season comes to an end in early 2014, Mitch Kupchak will be more than ready to rid himself of D'Antoni and his stubborn ways.
At that point, a certain 11-time NBA champion could easily step into the vacated spot.
Even if Jackson doesn't jump back into the fray of the NBA in earnest as the team's head coach in 2014-15, the Lakers will be rid of D'Antoni—especially if by making such a move it could potentially help the team land another superstar.
Now that D'Antoni is no longer an issue, let's take a look at the notion that Bryant and 'Melo won't be able to play together.
These two men played together in perfect harmony for a few summers when Team USA hit the international courts for the Olympics. During the team's impressive 2012 gold medal run, the two of them—along with a roster full of superstars—put egos aside and played as a cohesive unit.
It can be done, people.
Anthony and Bryant, working toward a goal that both desperately want, will certainly learn how to play to one another's strengths.
Furthermore, with a healthy Steve Nash, the Lakers would have three legitimate superstars opposing teams would be forced to account for on every single play.
Bryant hasn't been bashful in his desire to play with Anthony, either. In an interview with Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld back in 2011, Bryant said:
I would actually like to play with Melo. Championships are won on the inside and I’m always thinking about winning the title. I would love to play with Melo because I would know that I have an inside presence. That’s really been the biggest strength with our Lakers team.
Anthony does possess excellent post skills and can even play some power forward in small lineups. Bryant is one of the deadliest scorers in the league from the outside in, and the two of them could really put some stress on opposing defenses.
The Lakers roster is due for a massive overhaul after this upcoming season. Only Nash is signed through to the 2014-15 season, as detailed by Hoopsworld, and there's a chance Bryant might be willing to sacrifice a massive paycheck for a championship roster.
Should he be paired with another elite player like Anthony, the sky would be the limit for the Lakers.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78