Lakers Rumors: Latest on LA's Pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, Isaiah Thomas and More

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJuly 10, 2014

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony reacts to an official's call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Friday, March 28, 2014, in Phoenix. The Suns won 112-88. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

In a matter of one refreshing of a Twitter feed, Los Angeles Lakers fans could be sent into jubilation at the return of a championship team or be subjugated to another rebuilding season. To say that tensions are high is quite the understatement.

The summer of 2014 has long been a target for L.A.'s front office, and general manager Mitch Kupchak has been busy meeting with marquee free agents. More than a week has passed since July 1, when the free-agency cycle officially began.

The longer Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and other top free agents take to make their decisions, the longer the entire league is in limbo.

Let's get to it and break down the latest Lakers rumors. 


Carmelo Anthony

TORONTO, CANADA - April 11: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks attempts a free throw against the Toronto Raptors on April 11, 2014 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
Ron Turenne/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony continues to take his time making a decision on where he'll end up. With the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers both on pins and needles, folks around the league are starting to wonder what's up.

ESPN's Ian Begley and Ramona Shelburne might have connected the dots with their report that Anthony is waiting to see what LeBron James does before acting. A dream of a Melo-LeBron move seemed to be dying with them both going in different directions in free agency, but perhaps that ship has not sailed.

The waiting isn't easy on the Lakers, should Anthony choose to go elsewhere, per ESPN:

Los Angeles is determined to wait on James and Anthony before moving on in its pursuit of other free agents. James and Anthony are the Lakers' main targets, but with each passing day, the franchise gets antsy about potentially missing on other free-agent targets such as Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza.

Anthony has gone as silent as James with free agency now more than a week old, sparking the belief that he's waiting to see if there is a viable opportunity for the two stars to team up.

"He wants to see what LeBron does," one source with knowledge of Anthony's thinking told ESPN. "But he can't wait forever."

They're right—he can't wait forever. With the Cleveland Cavaliers making an all-out push for James' return, there's also no telling if that opportunity will come to fruition. The Cavs have bolstered their chances, including freeing up the necessary cap space in a deal unloading Jarrett Jack and others in a deal reported by ESPN's Marc Stein.

The prospect of Chris Bosh going to the Rockets—per ESPN's Chris Broussard—could open the door for Anthony to join James in Miami, but it's hard to see the Heat waving goodbye to Bosh if he wants to return along with James.

The Lakers have surprised by becoming real players in the Anthony sweepstakes, and whatever decision he makes will significantly shape what moves L.A. makes in the coming weeks and months. 


Isaiah Thomas

SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 13: Isaiah Thomas #22 of the Sacramento Kings in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on April13, 2014 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading an
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings made a bold move by reportedly signing Darren Collison to an expensive deal, per Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner. That opens the door for starting point guard Isaiah Thomas, who is a restricted free agent.

The point guard spot was a serious position of need for the Lakers all of last season, and a notable name emerging in that spot would do them well. According to Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling, it could be Thomas:

To say the Lakers need point guards would be putting it lightly. Steve Nash can't stay healthy, Kendall Marshall has improved but is not worthy of starting, and Jordan Farmer is gone. 

Heck, when Kobe Bryant made his brief return in 2013-14, even he was asked to assume the point guard responsibilities. 

Thomas could be the perfect addition. He made serious strides last season, becoming one of the league's most formidable point guards. The three-year pro averaged 20.3 points and dished out 6.3 assists per game.

If he can even come close to replicating that sort of effect with the Lakers, it would be a serious improvement. Thomas is talented enough to be a key piece on a championship-caliber squad or a significant young player to help streamline the rebuilding process.


Jordan Crawford

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

As if it wasn't stated enough before, the Lakers need point guards. 

With that said, they are hitting the market for any help they can find. Even an injection of scoring off the bench from the backcourt would be of need in L.A., where the Lakers couldn't find much of that in 2013-14.

Enter Jordan Crawford. The former Warrior is now an unrestricted free agent after Golden State declined to offer him, and Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears reports L.A. is among the teams interested:

Crawford was an effective player off the bench for Boston recently but struggled to find playing time with the Warriors. There is still little doubt that he could serve as a strong bench guard.

The options are obviously aplenty right now for the Lakers, and Crawford is certainly just one of many players whom L.A. might bring in to shore up its backcourt problem.

But one thing is for sure—the Lakers need some help in the point guard slot before next season begins. If no changes are made to the current roster, Crawford would step into some serious playing time.