From Jared Dubin, Grantland: The 2013 free-agency signing period isn’t even over yet, but already the basketball world can barely wait for the summer of 2014, when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony can all become free agents. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the Lakers will be armed with loads and loads of cap space, and consequently will be writing checks to LeBron, Carmelo, Thor, and anyone else they damn well please, according to various reports. You can’t turn your head twice without seeing something about the Lakers’ grand 2014 plan, which is all well and good, except that the Lakers won’t have nearly as much cap space as people seem to think they will. Let’s stipulate a few things before we break down the most possible room under the cap the Lakers can have:
From Bill Paschke, LA Times: At first glance, the rebuilding Lakers will make you cover your mouth in shock. No Dwight Howard. No Metta World Peace. No Earl Clark. No new coach. No defined ownership. No clear plan. No Showtime. No Lake Show. No Bench Mob. No way in heck are you going to rush home from work on a Tuesday night in February to watch the fourth quarter of their game in Atlanta. But now wait. Look at what is left. Look at what has been added. If you really look at it, when you slowly remove your hand from your mouth, you might actually be smiling. In losing some of their hype and much of their hope, the Lakers gained something that has been missing in the three years since the final moments of Game 7 against Boston. These Lakers could actually be fun again. There is a little chance they will make the playoffs. There is a decent chance they will stink. There is zero chance they will play any defense. But with something to prove and nothing to lose, they are almost guaranteed to entertain.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: While fans (and a lot of front office executives) around the league have enjoyed the Lakers stumbles last season, we all know the plan. And it’s a very feasible one. The Lakers will muddle through this season then rebuild on the fly through free agency in the summer of 2014 when virtually everybody comes off the books. They can attack free agency hard and sign a couple max players. They have reportedly targeted LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Except, the Lakers don’t have quite as much cap space as everyone thinks. Depending on what they do it could be more like $36 million.
From Dan Duangdao, Lakers Nation: After spending time with Colin Cowherd on ESPN 710AM to discuss the possibilities of joining the Lakers last week, it seems like Paul George can’t escape the continuing speculation that will only intensify throughout the season. George is currently at USA Basketball’s minicamp in Las Vegas and everywhere he goes, there are Lakers fans trying to persuade him to join the team next summer. While it’s getting a little repetitive, he does appreciate people wanting him in the purple and gold, according to Yahoo! Sports: “I understand it. I can’t really be mad about it. It’s a great feeling when people in the stands really want you.”
From Michael C. Jones, Yahoo Sports: The 2012-13 season was an unmitigated disaster for the Los Angeles Lakers, and when the time came for fans to place blame on someone, head coach Mike D’Antoni was an easy target. Does the former New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns head coach deserve some of the blame for what went terribly wrong? Absolutely. But in his defense, he inherited a roster full of players unfamiliar with one another, tried to install a new system in-season and had an absurd amount of injuries to every one of his key players to contend with.The most glaring reason he drew the ire of fans was because he wasn’t Phil Jackson, the coach who the Lakers teased everyone with by going public that they were considering bringing back. For better or worse, LA is sticking with D’Antoni for the foreseeable future. And to his credit, he deserves a shot to see what he can do with a full offseason and the chance to get familiar with his players before the season starts.