Lakers Rumors: Predicting Likelihood of Star Free Agents Signing with LA

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IJuly 5, 2014

July 27, 2012; London, United Kingdom; USA forward LeBron James (left) and guard Kobe Bryant (right) stand on a stage during a press conference in preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games at the Main Press Center.  Mandatory Credit: Alain Mounic/Presse Sports via USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers would need approximately $470 million in cap space to sign all of the free agents they're linked to through rumors.

No team is linked to more, partly because, well, they're the Lakers. The other reason is because most of their roster remains bare. Of course, many of these rumors are unrealistic.

Here are the unsigned stars Los Angeles has shown interest in this summer, according to sources, and the likelihood they're actually acquired.

SF LeBron James, Miami Heat

TNT's David Aldridge reported that the Lakers have met with James' agent.

However, for James to leave the Miami Heat, Los Angeles needs to convince him it's a championship-caliber team todaymore so than any other team that could sign him. This includes the Heat, which he's led to four straight NBA Finals appearances.

For that to happen, Mitch Kupchak needs divine intervention. 

Laker Likelihood: When Zach Randolph flies.

SF Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that the Lakers didn't try to convince Anthony to take any less than a max contract when they met this week.

The Knicks can offer Anthony the most money. They're the front-runners. But a healthy Kobe Bryant is more talented than any teammate Anthony would have in New York, which will keep Los Angeles' hopes alive.

Laker Likelihood: Slim, but not none.

PF Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers

Shelburne also reported that, believe it or not, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the Lakers' greatest threat to re-signing Gasol.

According to the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, though, Gasol will stay if the Lakers land Anthony. But as mentioned earlier, that's as easy as passing on more money and security for a chance at more wins. Assuming these reports are correct, Gasol's odds are about the same as Anthony's.

Laker Likelihood: Slim, but not none.

SG Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers

ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that the Lakers are one of the several teams interested in Stephenson, who can't get on the same page as the Pacers.

May 30, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (left) stands next to Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (right) during the first half in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Manda

Teams may be interested in Stephenson for his talent, but they don't see him as their primary target.

He plays the 2, one of the only positions the Lakers don't need. And the odds that his and Bryant's personalities clash are greater than Stephenson making them a championship contender.

Laker Likelihood: High, if he became less punchable.

PG Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings

The Detroit News' Vincent Goodwill reported that the Lakers sit atop Thomas' list of desired destinations. 

Mar 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (22) reacts after scoring against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. The Bulls won 94-87.  Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles doesn't need a point guard as badly as other positions with Steve Nash, Kendall Marshall and Jordan Clarkson in the fold. But there's no denying that Thomas would be a major upgrade over all of them. Considering that this is the only notable name who wants to sign with the Lakers more than anyone, and Bryant/Clarkson's length would make up for the 5'9" Thomas' lack of it, he has the highest odds to sign on this list.

Laker Likelihood: 59 percent.

SF Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls

ESPN's Shelburne and Dave McMenamin reported that the Lakers have reached out to Deng. 

Mark Duncan/Associated Press

He makes perfect sense if the Lakers sign an elite talent who isn't a wing, but the only elite talents in free agencyJames and Anthonyare wings. Deng is great, but not great enough to make the Lakers contenders in the short term without another superstar. And at 29 years old, he isn't an ideal long-term option either.

Laker Likelihood: Slim to none.

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.


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