Lakers Rumors: Latest on Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol and Other Free-Agent Targets

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJuly 11, 2014

December 25, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) goes in for a basket against the defense of Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It's really a very simple situation for the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. The team can be a legitimate contender in the Western Conference if it can sign Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol, or it will be an also-ran with Kobe Bryant and rookie Julius Randle supplying the occasional thrill.

Obviously, the Lakers and their fans would prefer the first option.

Like everyone else in the basketball world, the Lakers were awaiting the decision of LeBron James, whom Carmelo Anthony apparently seemed to be waiting on as well.

Now that James has announced through SI.com that he's heading back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, perhaps other business around the league will pick up.

Here's the latest information in the pursuit of Anthony, Gasol and a few role players.

L.A. Customizing Their Pitch to Suit Melo's Wife

Eric Charbonneau/Associated Press

If most of Melo's decision is based on the desires of his wife, actress La La Anthony, then the Lakers may be making the right pitch.

Per Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, the team sees La La as a major factor.

It remains to be seen whether La La truly prefers to live in L.A. full time, and whether her wishes will be the driving point in Carmelo's decision.

Either way, it's a smart pitch from a Lakers standpoint.

Lakers Still Love Gasol

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on from the bench against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on April 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Despite a Laker tenure that was wrought with trade rumors, there's still apparently mutual interest between the team and Pau Gasol.

Medina tweeted:

Gasol is being wooed by several contenders. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, The Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have all expressed interest.

Unless the Lakers land Melo, their roster doesn't measure up to any of Gasol's other suitors. 

Role Players on the Radar

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 30:  Kent Bazemore #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands o nthe court in the game with the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on March 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders talked about the Lakers' Plan B options, as well as some potential role players the team could add for depth:

L.A. apparently has expressed interest in bringing back Steve Blake after shipping him to Golden State at the deadline. Kent Bazemore returning to L.A. is possible as well, as they have been in contact with his camp.

You can scratch Blake from that list as of Thursday, per CBS Sports' Ken Berger.

With Jordan Farmar choosing to play with the Lakers' Staples Center rival the L.A. Clippers, the options at point guard are getting sparse. We'll have to wait and see who the team targets next for the position.

The Lakers would be smart to bring back the energetic and athletic Bazemore for depth on the wing. In 25 games with the team last season, Bazemore averaged 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and made 37 percent of his three-point attempts.

As a bench player, he'd be a perfect fit on a contending team.

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