Allure of LeBron Highlights How Far Lakers Still Need to Go

Darius Soriano —  June 24, 2014

Trying to guess what another human being will do is usually very foolish. We’re not in that person’s head, do not know what he or she values, what might motivate them to choose option A over option B. There are simply too many unknowns to try and guess what choice will be made in any given situation.

In saying that, when dealing with sports there are usually two things that matter most: money and winning. In today’s NBA, for the top stars, the latter is usually more important than the former as long as they are still getting paid somewhere near what their maximum salary is.

This brings me to LeBron James and, to a lesser extent, Carmelo Anthony. After Anthony informed the Knicks that he would opt out of the final year of his contract on Monday, LeBron told the Heat the same on Tuesday. Both will be free agents and instantly jump to the top of every team’s list as the most sought after targets on the open market.

If you are a Lakers fan, this probably excites you. After all, this is the moment the team has supposedly been building for over the last several years. It is why nearly every player’s salary came off the books this past summer; why the front office has preached “flexibility” as often as possible when it comes to explaining nearly every roster move they have made recently. The Lakers want to sign star players and rebuild as quickly as possible. Now, two of the biggest stars in the league (and two excellent players — LeBron’s case, the league’s best) are there for the poaching. Again, this is the Lakers’ moment.

There’s only one problem. Despite having money to spend, the Lakers still aren’t necessarily in a very good position to snag LeBron or Anthony, much less both.

Don’t get me wrong, there are ways to get there and these are the ways that the fans who believe this is possible will rattle off from now until some point in July when everyone’s minds are made up. In no specific order:

  • The Lakers have the ability to free up around $30 million in salary cap space to chase two star players. If LeBron and/or Melo take less than their max salary, they can sign with the Lakers and the team will still have room to chase another big time player (or, in the case of the LeBron AND Carmelo dream, both can sign for around $15 million each).
  • This is the Lakers. They have the franchise history, the Los Angeles market, the stars in the stands and banners in the rafters. Not to mention, they always treat their superstar players well and will always go the extra mile to accommodate them. This matters to players and when the front office pitches players, they will remind them off all the above.
  • The Lakers have not yet hired a head coach. To outsiders, this may seem like a deterrent, but this is just one more sweetner the team can offer any prospective free agent. We want your input on who the next coach should be.

I do not deny there is some merit in thinking this way. There is nothing outlandish in the bullets above and any actual pitch the Lakers make to one (or more) of the top free agents will include this logic.

However, what this line of thinking ignores are some of the basic realities about team building and what the Lakers would need to do in order to get to the point where some of the above statements are even true. For example:

  • In order for the Lakers to get upwards of $30 million in cap space, they would need to renounce every free agent on their roster while trading Steve Nash and the #7 pick while taking close to no salary back in return. The former is expected at this point and is only a formality. The latter, while doable, isn’t so simple. The Lakers would likely need to use the #7 pick as sweetner to take on Nash’s deal which makes the process easier, but also uses a very good team building asset in a poor manner. The idea in chasing star free agents is at least somewhat connected to how close a team is to winning. Getting zero return on a good asset makes you further away from a better foundation to help lure good players.
  • The history of the Lakers is one thing, but the present can be perceived as quite another. As I wrote when discussing Phil Jackson taking the Knicks’ job, there is a perception that Jim Buss is not good at his job. Whether this is true or not doesn’t mean as much as the idea having traction. I don’t think whatever views are held of Buss erase the Lakers storied past, but if players are concerned about ownership or the direction of the franchise, that will affect the pursuit of free agents.

I don’t say any of this to say that the Lakers should not try to sign the best free agents. Having LeBron hit the open market is exactly why they have a max salary slot open heading into the summer. They wanted to be able to sign any single player of their choosing at any salary he can command under this CBA. Now that this is actually possible logistically, you bet they will try to make their pitch. If they can convince guys to take less and try to sign more than one of these players, more power to them.

Just don’t expect the Lakers to come out victorious in this and have LeBron and/or Carmelo actually playing at Staples as part of the home team next year. Because much like looking in your side mirror while driving, as close as the Lakers may seem they are still quite a ways away from luring one of the top free agents. Yes, they can offer the money (at least to one of them), but offering the chance to win right away is much more complicated.

Darius Soriano

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to Allure of LeBron Highlights How Far Lakers Still Need to Go

  1. Lakers better get Melo or James this off season and they will!!! I guarantee you my Lakers will!!!


  2. Hmmm which team would they pick?

    Report: Hawks, Cavs, Lakers to pursue pairing LeBron and Carmelo


  3. I personally do not think all the cap room in the world would make a difference here. Lebron will take whatever path he decides will help him increase his “legacy” and his “brand”. Financial considerations will play a minimal part in his decision.

    I continue in my belief that the one thing the Lakers can offer him that no one else can offer him is our world-wide fanbase. If this guy becomes a Laker tomorrow, he may lose thousands of Heat fans, but he will gain millions of Laker fans – many of whom today have nothing but open hatred for the guy. He would also help turn the public image of the FO and the team around overnight. Sure, there would be plenty of challenges given the cap space limitations, but imagine the legacy of a guy that comes into a team many non-believers have written off as being in turmoil and a shell of its former self and turns it around to become a contender once again. That is the stuff of legends: the type of challenge that could make one an all time legend and a word-wide icon. If Lebron is thinking beyond “rings” but focused more on his legacy, then I think we have a solid shot at the guy.

    P.S. Forget Melo. I’d rather have Pau.


  4. Set aside the viability of landing both LeBron and Carmelo — which in my opinion is a huge, huge stretch, at best.

    Would pairing those two guys with whatever Kobe has left to offer get the Lakers over the top as far as toppling the Spurs, or even the Thunder or Clippers? I do not see it… Adding those two would leave two ball-dominant scorers (Kobe and Melo) whose defense is below par. LeBron is LeBron, but he can’t do it all on his own, as we just witnessed. And beyond those three you have Sacre and whatever detritus would take whatever scraps are left… That’s just not a title team.

    If LeBron can be had, paired with Kobe and keeping the No. 7 pick, I like that idea so much more… But I don’t see LBJ opting for that when he could likely find a better landing spot elsewhere.

    So much talk this time of year, but what does it actually mean?


  5. Hmmm which team would they pick?
    The article to which you’d linked only mentions three teams in the headline, but the body of the story goes on to state that Miami is still the favorite. It’s by no means a matter of the Lakers merely needing only to overcome counteroffers from the Cavaliers or Hawks, as your comment implied.

    Likewise, there is nothing to assure anyone that this is a “they” decision; LeBron and Carmelo could well end up playing in different cities again next season, be it Miami and New York or elsewhere.

    Lastly, to so easily dismiss the idea of LeBron returning to the Cavs is questionable. Yes, there were some bridges burned, but he’s still an Ohio guy, and with Irving and the No. 1 pick, LeBron would more likely have better talent alongside him then the Lakers would be able to place around him next season. (Not to mention an easier path to the Finals by virtue of playing in the East.)

    Presuming Embiid’s injury scares the Cavs, either Parker or Wiggins is likely to be better than anyone the Lakers will land at No. 7, and at this stage in their careers, Kyrie’s more likely to produce at an All-Star level than Kobe. Hopefully Kobe shows otherwise, but so many of us had high hopes for him last season too.


  6. I’m a little confused. You say we would have to renounce every FA/move Nash to get upwards of $30 mil cap space. The cap is projected to be around $63 mil next season. We currently have Kobe at $24 mil, Sacre at $1, and Nash at $9, for an aggregate of $34 mil.. Leaving $29 mil. If we waive Nash(stretch) doesn’t that leave $35 mil not including the full MLE ($5 mil) minus our pick’s rookie contract? Let me know if I’m missing something please.


  7. For me, this is a non- issue, its not going to happen. Its nice to dream but its a pipe dream.It is so improbable that i dont know how to react if it happens. One in a million chance…


  8. darius; two things would have to happen:

    1. before sitting down at the meal table, kobe must say: we eat together.

    2. and after enjoying their first meal together, kobe should ask: what’s for dessert?

    Let them eat cake !!

    Go lakers


  9. It’s going to be funny when he resigns with the Heat for less money, i dont doubt its part of a plan concocted between him and Riley to improve their team. People need to remember that his Heat salary is not his bread and butter…


  10. David,
    You are missing the cap holds that exist for vacant roster spots when a team has fewer than 12 players under contract. Considering the Lakers would have 10 such holds at the minimum salary for rookies, it lessens their cap space by that same amount. So, in reality, if the Lakers actually did pull off all those deals without taking any salary back they would have around $33 million in cap space, give or take, if my math is right.


  11. is there a rule preventing the knicks from signing-and-trading carmelo to us for trade exception/nash/sacre/#7?


  12. I’m sorry, but this sounds like wishful thinking to me. Why would Lebron come here? Take 15M to carry a team in Kobetown and battle in the tough West? He’s better off staying in Miami with his friends. As for Carmelo, Chicago or Houston or Dallas can all offer him more, I believe.

    But hey, miracles do happen, right?


  13. First let me say that it would take a miracle for Lebron to chose the Lakers. Others, on this site and on major sports media outlets have been sharing their thoughts about where James will go. I don’t think the Lakers are near the top in any assessment I’ve seen.

    Additionally, it seems that anyone trying to match Lebron with the Lakers assumes that he will only come here if its with Melo. While I get that they are friends it may be a stretch that they have to play together.

    If I were Lebron, I would stay in Miami – getting Bosch and Wade to opt out as well and give Riley more cap space to work on improving the Heat. Just because he can leave doesn’t mean Lebron should. There is something magical about working through adversity and I think James feels some loyalty to the Heat, to Riley and to Wade/Bosch to see this through a little longer.

    Now, if James did chose to leave I would go back to Cleveland. He should ask the Cavs to trade their #1 to Minnesota for KLove. This would give the Cavs: Lebron, KLove, Irving Waiter, Thompson, Varajao and Hawes. That is a sick team which would rule the east for the next 5 years.

    I was going to come up with a scenario that makes the Lakers attractive but quite frankly nothing comes close to what he has going in Miami or what he could do by going home again.


  14. @Manny P: Lebron would not lose thousand of Heat “fans” the Lakers would adquire a bunch of ex Heat “fans” that were Cavs “fans” before 2010 and the “Great Bandwagon Migration”. I never met a Heat fan before 2010 unless he/she was from South Florida. Those are the more fake”fanbases” i ever seen and i personally would not like to be asocciated with those kind of fans. I personally know some of those…


  15. It’s going to be funny when he resigns with the Heat for less money

    Not really. That is by far the most likely outcome, and basically everybody who is paying attention is aware of that.


  16. I personally do not think all the cap room in the world would make a difference here.

    Considering that the last time that James was a FA, he joined a team that had cleared its entire cap to accommodate him, Wade, and Bosh, this is a very odd assertion to make. James does not appear to care much about whether he makes 22M or 19M; if he did, he would have opted in. He does appear to care a lot about who the other guys on the team are, and the kinds of guys he wants to play with cost money.


  17. Well its going to be funny because all this hoopla is going to be for nothing and i already read at least 20 scenarios about how this or that team can land Lebron. Btw i dont think Wade or Bosh are going to opt out because they know they are not worth their current salary and dont command this kind of money anymore.Lebron can afford that luxury. If they opt out then its another Jon Snow moment for me lol. I think the new CBA is about to bite hard on South Beach unless Pat Riley do some very creative decisions.


  18. The assumption here is that Kobe will not restructure his deal, nor will Nash. But, in fact, both have an incentive to do it. It also need not cost them that much. Kobe, for example, could restructure to $10-11 million x 4 year contract that, in total, pays him the same. Nash could add a year and divide by 2 as well. This allows them to have a last chance at a championship, make a Duncan-esque gesture while preserving the total income over the rest of their career. Not saying it will happen, mind you. But I can see Kobe (in particular) giving up salary so long as it is clear that it is his choice and so long as it brought in the potential for another championship.


  19. If they opt out then its another Jon Snow moment for me lol.

    I think they will opt out, and then they will stay together in Miami for pay cuts. Not huge ones–but ones large enough so the Miami FO can shore up the team 4-8.

    But I certainly may be wrong.


  20. Nick Van Exile June 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    While I’d love for LeBron to join the Lakers, I think realistically, it’s not going to happen. There’s just too many variables that would have to fall in to place for LeBron to want to come to the Lakers. However, they could build a team that would compete for the 7th or 8th seed next season pretty easily and realistically just through free agency and the draft: sign Lowry for $11M/year and Hawes for $7M/year (Warren Wee Lim, you got me on board with Hawes!), draft Vonleh/Randle/Gordon, move Kobe to SF, re-sign Meeks for $3M/year, and re-sign some of their own free agents for minimum deals:

    PG = Lowry, Marshall, Nash
    SG = Meeks, Bazemore
    SF = Kobe, X. Henry, W. Johnson
    PF = Vonleh/Randle/Gordon, Kelly
    C = Hawes/Gasol, Sacre

    After next season, Nash retires and his $9.7 million comes off the books. The Lakers can use that to sign another good player or roll the cap space over to the season after that when Kobe retires and his $25 million comes off the books and free agents like Kevin Durant are available.


  21. mcallen,
    It is not legal under the CBA to restructure your deal in the NBA. If this were the NFL, that would be a viable strategy, but not in this league.


  22. I agree with Van Exile, thats a nice foundation to built from, give or take some players, dont matter. Thats what i been calling for, but where we might disagree is that the Lakers would just simply let the Kobe Bryant era end with a whimper as you might imply. Its always been my belief that the Lakers will go all out and try to send Kobe off to the sunset with that six ring or at least a serious run at it. Its always my hope that the Lakers concentrate on building a nice foundation this summer and then go all out on Kobe’s possible final season. We could potentially send Kobe off with a ring and automaticaly have the money and then some to sign his sucessor.


  23. Dear Basketball Gods,

    I pray, please do not make Lebron a Laker. This front-running, Cleveland backstabbing, colluding, stat hogging, ESPN marketed, 50 year old looking man does not deserve to wear the purple and gold….but please send Carmelo and Lowry this way. Thank you. Amen.


  24. i’ve done too much research to have the lakers trade this pick.


  25. mcallen: Darius is of course correct. However, there is another way. You simply obtain a time machine, go back in time to the day before the Lakers inked KB’s extension, you get Jim and Mitch in a room and say: “Have you guys lost your minds?”. You then show them the Lakers current cap situation along with the FA landscape, and they both hit themselves in the forehead and say “What were we thinking”. You could even suggest to them the 4 year $11 million deal you suggest. It would show confidence that Kobe could play for that long, would allow him to chase the records, would “reward” him, and would be even better financially for the team as we would have him for 4 years. Everybody wins. Alternatively – without the time machine – you are stuck with the 2 year $48 million deal where everybody loses except for Rob Pelinka.


  26. rr,
    LeBron doesn’t want to play with Wade any longer. Maybe you’re the last person who thinks Wade is still an above average NBA player but I assure you LeBron doesn’t.


  27. I wonder what Wade is waiting on? He should have opted out at the first chance. He should have been opting out while the Finals were still going on. I see LeBron staying in Miami only if the other two (specifically Wade) opt out for less money as well. There is no way LeBron settles for a pay cut while the other two pick up their $40+ million options.


  28. Nick Van Exile – signing Lowry for 11 Mil and Hawes for 7 Mil are exactly the types of contracts that will get the Lakers into trouble. The odds are that they will not sign for two years – they’ll likely get 4 years. So their contracts will extend two years beyond Kobe’s retirement. Next summer, the FO will again go all in and sign veterans to likely 4 year deals to win it all for Kobe. These contracts will also extend long after Kobe retires.

    This is what many on this board have spoken about: the collateral damage of going all in for Kobe. The fear is that the Lakers will have 30% – 50% of their cap space allocated to over valued veterans when Kobe retires. This almost ensures that the Lakers will win just enough to make the playoffs. Hooray, well be stuck in no man’s land of mediocrity.

    The facts say we are in a rebuild and all I see is every one creating fantasies as to how we can sign Lebron this summer! Wake up people!

    Let’s do this right instead of kicking the can down the road in exchange for 5 seasons of clinching the 8th seed and getting crushed in the first round of the playoffs. What is the right way: Hire the right coach, make a good draft pick (starting with this draft), spend our cap space wisely invest in the organization (scouting, analytics and hiring smart folks with unique perspectives). Its not glamorous but its what you have to do in this new CBA. If you want to sign KD in two years you better have a young core in place for him to join.


  29. Aaron,

    I made no statement about either Wade’s remaining skill levels or James’ opinions of them. But here are the issues:

    1. Even if Wade were to opt in, he still makes 2M less than than Kobe does, is three years younger than Kobe, and last year, was much healthier. And you have said many times that you see Kobe as being average at best going forward–and Kobe is signed to an even bigger deal in 2015-16.
    2. Anthony is 30–just like Bosh. If Anthony were Durant, maybe. Perhaps you think that James believes that Anthony is as good as Durant, but if he does, he’s wrong.
    3. As noted, James would be putting himself in the West by coming here, and would need to get by some combo of the Clippers, Thunder, Spurs, Rockets, and possibly an upgraded Warriors team to make the Finals (yes, I know what you think of Kevin Love).

    So, adding these factors to the pay cut, the personal connections with Riley and Arison, CA state taxes, moving his small children across the country, and the media firestorm it would set off, I am simply not seeing it.


  30. There is no way LeBron settles for a pay cut while the other two pick up their $40+ million options

    I tend to agree, but I think The Heatles will, again, be a package deal and all opt out. Maybe the other two have agreed to stall so that other teams will gut their rosters.


  31. I understated my collateral damage of trying to win one for Kobe: Lowry and Hawes are nice players but not ‘must have’ players. So if you spend $18 mil on them combined (as Nick mentioned) annually that’s nearly 30% of next years available cap. If the Lakers make the similar choices heading into Kobe’s last season you can see how easy it is to tie 60/70% of your cap space on overvalued veteran players who will be on your payroll for years after Kobe is gone.

    There’s only upside in doing this the right way.


  32. Grant: The facts say we are in a rebuild and all I see is every one creating fantasies as to how we can sign Lebron this summer! Wake up people!
    Like I mentioned in my post above, I was ready to map out a dream fantasy that brought both Melo and Lebron to the Lakers. I caught myself — its just not based in reality.

    You may well be right. The Lakers may have to chart a course, for the next few years at least, which focuses on the draft and spending wisely. I might add another element to your prescription: making wise trades as well.

    The real prize may be two years away with Kevin Durant. In the highly competitive West the Thunder may not get out of the conference. KD may be looking for greener pastures – a young Laker team on the cusp of doing great things and needing a super star to push them over the top.


  33. Grant – signing Lowry for 11 Mil and Hawes for 7 Mil are exactly the types of contracts that will get the Lakers into trouble.

    At first I was a little taken aback by your comments. Lowry had a great year with a PER above 20 and Hawes had pretty good numbers. Then I dug a little deeper:

    – Lowry, is coming off of a career year. He’s small, 6 foot at best, on his third team and is 28 yrs old. On a two year deal I can see value in signing him. However, my gut says he won’t age well.
    – Hawes also is coming off the best year of his career. He’s on his third team as well, and while he’s young 26 with good size (7’1′ 245) he’s more of a stretch 4 than a center. (I look at stretch fours as a luxury and not a necessity.)

    I see your point in that we would be buying high and overpaying for the true value they bring to the team. This would be especially true for longer term deals.


  34. Ok….great board as usual.
    Robert – the time machine idea is fantastic.
    (In fact, if I could use that personally I’m “all in.”)

    So having said there’s no way Lebron is coming repeatedly, well, just for fun, and maybe just for today, I allowed myself to think…what if?

    It certainly isn’t clear at this point that the big 3 in Miami are all still on the same page.

    Lebron may be disappointed in Wade.
    Wade may be reluctant to opt out.
    Riley may have aggravated some folks.
    Carmelo’s wife may suggest LA and Lebron may really want to team up with Carmelo.
    Carmelo may be able to broker a partnership between Kobe and Lebron.
    Lebron may have secretly always dreamed of being a Laker. Etc etc etc.
    And the Laker brand may still have some of that shine to it.

    It’s possible.


  35. My personal dream in trouble. Detroit close to dealing Josh Smith to Sacramento. If Sac is dumb enough to make the trade it would enable the Pistons to match deals for Greg Monroe. I was hoping that the Lakers would offer and that Detroit’s hands would be tied and have to let Monroe go.


  36. smoothaswilkes June 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    It’s one thing for the Lakers to make their pitch and they should be making their pitches given all the salary cap hoarding they’ve been doing. It’s quite another thing to realistically think that either of LeBron or Melo sign with the Lakers. It’s just not happening for all the reasons mentioned and more.

    That said, I do think one aspect that gets lost in all of this is Kobe’s extension from the perspective that these guys still want to get paid. Why would LBJ and Melo come to LA for ~16 million per when Kobe, who ostensibly becomes the Wade in that equation, is rocking 24 million per season? If they all were making the same sacrifices, then maybe, but not with such a huge gap for the third best player on in that hypothetical Big Three.The Miami situation worked out because all three of LBJ, Wade, and Bosh took similar hits to their pocket book in order to play together. That’s not the Lakers’ situation and won’t be until Kobe’s extension comes to a sweet conclusion.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge Kobe his salary. I get that it’s a sign to available max FA’s that in these times of “you must take a salary reduction to win” that the Lakers will get you paid eventually – at least I hope that was the logic, otherwise… It just seems to me that their logic is flawed in that players don’t mind taking the hit if it means the front office spends all that money on depth. That’s not happening with Kobe making that ridiculous money – it’s 38% of next season’s cap for crying out loud. That’s not buying a ton of depth. And it certainly isn’t bringing in two max level players.


  37. Smooth-
    Awesome use of the English language –
    ‘When Kobe’s contract comes to its sweet conclusion.’
    Simply awesome.

    As I said before – had Sir Bryant settled for ‘merely’ 16 mil per year, everything looks different today.

    Would Carmelo and Lebron sign deals that are back-loaded and reward them after Kobe’s deal expires?
    Might that sufficiently compensate for an egregious imbalance initially?


  38. Sounds good till Kobe tells LBJ that he is the second option..Kobe then will also say its his team no matter what…James will realize that playing with Kobe isn’t such a great idea…..


  39. rr,
    Life is all about conparisons. Who would you rather have as teammates? Melo, whoever the seventh pick is traded for, Kobe, and all the minimum players who would take less to play in LA with that team or next years Heat which will really be the same team unless Wade and Bosh take less money and they get to add a MLE type player. This isn’t which is the perfect sittuation. It’s what is the best sittuation for LBJ. One of his goals is to be the first billion dollar athlete. Don’t think for a second he doesn’t dream about what the Lakers worldwide brand could do for his worldwide brand. LeBron wants to play with Meli. Where is a better place than La? Seriously. Talk me out of this. Give me the better scenario for winning and completing Lebrons brand. If anyone can convince me there is a better place it’s you.


  40. Nick Van Exile June 24, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Grant: Lowry is probably a top 5 point guard in the NBA (it was a crime he wasn’t on the All-Star team last season). He just turned 28 less than 3 months ago and he plays both sides of the ball (unlike guys like Curry). If they get him for $10-11M/year, he would be a bargain. Hawes is not a top tier free agent so I think he could be had for 2-3 years (or maybe the mid-level for 4 years). These contracts are in line with or better than players providing similar production.

    With no first round picks in 2015 and 2017 and no second round picks in 2014 and 2015, rebuilding through the draft will not just be slow, it will be glacial and there’s no way the Lakers would have a young core in place when Durant is a free agent in 2 years. They will need to sign some young free agents as well to speed up the rebuild. If we don’t sign a top 5 PG in his prime in Lowry and a floor-spacing 4/5 in Hawes for market-level contracts, then who would you suggest? The idea of the Lakers getting great talent on bargain basement contracts (and/or short-term contracts) is as much a fantasy as the Lakers getting LeBron and Melo.


  41. The Lakers decision not to hire Phil has destroyed this franchise.

    Really, they couldn’t tank some games to get a better pick this year?

    This is how to build a team: Trade Kobe for a top pick.Tank for a couple of years and then sign some big names, Durant in the future before you have to pay the draft picks large deals. Then you can sign your own free agents to whatever over the cap.

    This teams is going no where fast. The sister of mercy cant save them.


  42. JC

    Based on your post

    It appears you finally got around to drinking some of the wines?


  43. if they get lebron and bosh find a way to keep gasol pay he tax the time is now keep swagy p lil brothr sign bynam a back up minimum lebron could end iup the best laker ever lebron had a dream rookie year now is the time


  44. bosh opt out come 2 thelakers


  45. Here are the two options. The big three in Mia take less money and add Melo. Or Melo and LBJ take slightly more money and come to the Lakers. I am sure they are going to want a workout from Kobe before they make their decision. That’s really the only two options.


  46. KO, They have to build through the draft. Its either win the championship or nothing. I would rather see then at the very bottom as they collect top draft picks, then sign top free agents. What if we had Cleveland’s roster and picks with 35 million to spend?


  47. lebro #23 has not bee retired


  48. laker fans lets push for lebron and bosh and convince gasol to stay comeon lets go


  49. keep the dratt pick or trade fo 2 draft picks top 35 picks


  50. Everything in miami will depend on wade opting out of his 2 year 41 mil contract …. which I dont see happening … other people have said he should opt out amd sign for like 4 years at 50 … which gives him a 75% paycut for the last 2 years of the deal at 5 mil vs 20 mil …. by then he could still possibly get over 5 mill just like kobe has and he would be losing all of the backend career money all 3 of them thought they would get whem they signed in miami

    Now say he did opt out and got 15, bosh took 15, lebron took 15 (all 25% cuts) then with haslem, cole, and their 2 draft picks they are still right around the cap and would have to still resign amderson amd allen to look like they did last year… which will not be enough this year with teams like chicago, washington and charlotte looking to make the jump + they would still need to probably play the spurs in the finals again who just creamed them

    Now given that lebron is pretty much saying make the team better or ill go play somewhere else since I went through this in cleveland and it was horrible … miamis hands are pretty tied since if they all opt out their cap holds still take all of their cap space amd they are limited in who they cam bring in u less they actually sign …. they could all do the gentlemen thing but guys could get nervous and just take the money theu can find since giys that waited last year like nick young and mo williams ended up losing out amd having to settle … I think a lot of guys saw that amd their will be a bigger push by mid amd low tier players to get signed asap

    In a perfect world I would love for us to have the chance to sign a lebron or love via a trade with the pick and then resign all of our guys since the trade wouldnt force us to renounce anyone … adding lebron or melo to a gasol kobe trio would he great for a short 2 year run and I would say that

    Also… I see maybe lebron only taking a 2 year deal so that his next contract will be signed when the new national tv deals are signed puahing the cap up to the 80s … then he could sign for 30 a year and get closer to his billion and the lakers are one of maybe 2-3 teams that can support that rate given our local deal and seeing as how we just did that with kobe guys cam trust that it will happen with them instead of being asked as the 1st or 2nd best player in the league to take a paycut so mickey billionaire moneybags arison cam field a proper team


  51. Everyone… No more LeBron and anyone else comments. Don’t waste your time. LBJ and Melo are a pair. They have chosen to play together a year ago.


  52. The Lakers decision not to hire Phil has destroyed this franchise.

    Trade Kobe for a top pick.


    It’s early, but Phil hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in New York. He whiffed badly on his first coaching choice with Kerr, then hired a guy with no coaching experience; I love Fish, but he will not last two seasons with the Knicks. And now Phil’s best player has opted out. Some things are bigger than Phil, and to say he could have saved the Lakers from this mess is unrealistic. The new CBA, veto and “go for broke for Kobe’s sixth” were far bigger factors in the current plight than losing Phil.

    As for trading Kobe — um, no. Full no-trade clause; can’t happen.


  53. I agree with the many folks who think the Melo/LeBron thing is a lovely pipe dream . . . unless they just have an irrational love for the Lakers that they have never displayed there is absolutely no reason for Melo and/or LeBron to come to LA to play with Kobe and a bunch of minimum salary players. Basically, Lakers fans are saying LeBron should leave the Heat because it is a waste of his prime years to drag along a team with no roster depth and is saddled with an aging shooting guard who the franchise adores too much to treat in a way that makes business sense. Yes, obviously that is why he should leave the Heat and join the Lakers. I am not saying it would not be nice if LeBron signed with the Lakers. I would be ecstatic. But I would be ecstatic if I won the lottery too, and I don’t spend a lot of time rationalizing to myself and others why it can and will happen.


  54. X
    Here is the problem. Time Warner paid a ton of money to get Laker rights. I understand there are clause’s in that contract. Penalties occur if they don’t make the playoffs and if rating go down

    Last year both happened. Over 40% decrease in rating and no playoffs.

    Hence the Kobe signing and soon to be the reason for signing free agents and making a big splash in lottery.

    The loss from 2 more crap years could be far bigger then the cost of going over the cap. Lakers must be competitive or at least appear to be so or rating, season tickets and credibility will tank worse then the tanking from last year.

    It’s all about the Benjamin’s with the Buss kids and 2 more years of bad can not happen.


  55. Whoever suggested that the Lakers offer Spencer Hawes 7 mil a year for multiple years needs to have their account banned.


  56. Chris J,

    I agree with some of your Phil stuff, but it was never likely that Anthony would simply stick around for another year, no matter who was running the Knicks. Phil wanted him to do that, supposedly, but Anthony will be able to lock in a big deal if not a max deal somewhere by opting out now. I think he would’ve opted out if the Knicks had won 60 games last year.

    As to the Kerr thing, Kerr is golfing buddies with Lacob and Bob Meyers, and has a kid attending UC Berkeley. Add that to GS’s personnel and the fact they are the frontrunners for Love…well, like you said: some things are bigger than Phil. I think that applies somewhat to Anthony and Kerr.


  57. The Lakers have been so reckelss with their 1st round draft picks over the years. They have no 1st round draft pick in 2015 or 2017. It would be nice if they drafted someone and then kept him on the roster. I cannot see LeBron James, the king of the NBA, coming to play with Kobe. Why would LeBron help Kobe get his 6th ring? He can’t catch Kobe in rings if he’s playing with him. Owner Dan Gilbert’s a jerk, but Cleveland with all that young talent, and Kyrie Irving is a better option for LBJ.


  58. Question for some of you smart cap guys

    Could the Lakers offer James a 5 year deal
    First two say at $15
    Last 3 at Max say $22
    For a net of $92
    This way waiting until Kobe and Nash are off the books and have plenty of room left.

    In addition could Time Warner pay him a salary to appear on a reality show called “As the James Turns” to make up the difference.

    Rr. Warren. Robert or Darius please give me your thoughts?


  59. Aaron,

    Since you are a guy who thinks for yourself, and is as opinionated as I am, I doubt that I can change your mind about anything, and I mean that in a positive way.

    And, if Anthony and James have decided to play together, period, then you may be right.

    That said, while I have basically unlimited respect for what Kobe has done for the Lakers, I do not see having him at age 36 making 24M as a big draw for any elite FAs. I think that many people around the league, players included, do not believe in Jim Buss as an executive, and I think Kobe’s extension worsened that perception. I do not think that James believes that he needs the Lakers to enhance his brand. The digital age is different than the 1980s or 1990s, and while LA still has unique aspects to it, media have changed a lot since the times of Shaq and Jordan.

    I think James mostly wants more titles, and that is why he opted out: that sends the message that Miami needs to make some changes. But I think if he actually leaves South Beach to come to the competitive scrum of the West (and I would bet strongly against it) it will be for a more obviously title-ready situation–like the Clippers or the Rockets. Just my .02.

    And I will be absolutely thrilled if by some miracle James comes to the Lakers.


  60. So we all agree.
    It would be great. But it’s a long shot.
    Next thread?

    It would be natural to assume that after any/all of my posts.


  61. Nick Van Exile June 25, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Dan: That would be me that suggested the Lakers sign Hawes. He made $6.6 million last year. Channing Frye just opted out of a contract that would have paid him $6.8 million. Stretch 4’s/5’s have become a valuable commodity in the NBA and have proven effective as a counter to teams with rim protectors. If the Lakers draft Randle or Gordon (and to a lesser extent, Vonleh) and Kobe spends a lot of time in the post (as has been suggested following his recovery from injuries), they will need a floor-spacing big to play with them.


  62. thanks for the updates and your view on this


  63. Hawes hit nearly 42% of his 3s last year, including 46% from straight-on. He may well not be able sustain that, although that was the first time he had tried anywhere near that many, so maybe that, or near it, is his level.

    I mentioned Hawes yesterday, since a few guys here have talked about him. He has some value, but the Lakers will have to make decisions on whether they want to outbid other teams for guys in that tier, and those decisions will not be easy, because the Lakers are in the weird situation of needing to rebuild…while having Kobe and very few picks and needing to create a roster. So my guess is they will pay some guys, maybe including Hawes, more money than would be really be a good idea to pay them . Hawes is only 26, but he is the kind of guy would work better in specific role on a good team than as a building block on a bad one.


  64. wishful thinking, guys. besides, im one of the few who would actually enjoy watching a younger team grow together rather than throwing a bunch of ball-dominant superstars on the floor and having a 2 year championship window with an incredibly shallow cap-maxed team. i would go after lance stephenson in a heartbeat over melo and put him at the small forward position (hes more than capable of holding down that position because his wingspan, strength, and physicality makes up for his lack in height). if hes given the freedom to grow and hone his game as a laker, this guy could become a triple double machine and an all-world defender. then, i would go after either kyle lowry or isaiah thomas (some reports are saying the kings may not match offer sheets on him) and sign spencer hawes, whos a highly skilled center and a decent rim protector. the 7th pick will solve our hole at power forward with either a julius randle or aaron gordon signing, and id say we have a quality team while maintaining salary cap flexibility. i would even throw an offer sheet at eric bkedsoe, although phoenix would most likely match, but isaiah thomas is not a guy you wanna underestimate. i could care less about his size. what about his production as a starter? 21 ppg and 7 apg. beast. with these acquisitions, we also are able to build a better bench and retain some fan favorites like bazemore and nick young.

    PG: Kyle Lowry/Isaiah Thomas
    SG: Kobe Bryant
    SF: Lance Stephenson
    PF: Julius Randle
    C: Spencer Hawes

    Bench (potentially): Jordan Farmar, Kendall Marshall, Kent Bazemore, Nick Young, Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre, and another random free agent big man


  65. rr,
    The digital age has only strengthened the Lakers grip over fans around the world. The lakers have never had such a global reach. That’s a big reason why Kobe is the most popular basketball player by far around the world while he is far less popular in America behind guys like LeBron James

    I agree Kobe would normally be a repellant to free agents. But Melo is Kobe’s closest friend in the NBA. This is the only time Kobe will actually help us recruit free agents. Kobe gets Melo and Melo gets LeBron.


  66. The digital age has only strengthened the Lakers grip over fans around the world. The lakers have never had such a global reach. That’s a big reason why Kobe is the most popular basketball player by far around the world while he is far less popular in America behind guys like LeBron James.

    The Lakers do have a very strong brand, as I have said, and James coming here would of course be a huge deal. They would sell a lot of Lakers James jerseys in Beijing. But even if you are right, James would be sharing that digital spotlight–with Kobe, who already has a lot of it. And while I may be wrong, I doubt that James is sitting up nights wishing that he was as popular as Kobe is in China. I expect that James thinks he can build his global brand on his own steam, if that matters to him, even if attaching himself to the Lakers brand would help him in some ways.

    Plus, like I said when talking about KB’s contract: all that stuff starts from winning. If the Lakers lose 50+ games a couple of more times, Chinese kids will start wearing other teams’ gear. James needs more titles.

    As to the friendship angle, I think James is pretty good friends with Bosh and Wade as well, and James would also be bailing on Pat Riley, Mickey Arison, Erik Spoelstra, the Eastern Conference, South Beach, Udonis Haslem, and a lot of other stuff/people that we don’t know about.

    So…basically you are saying that Wade and Bosh suck so bad (they did in the Finals, but a lot of that was SA), James and Anthony are such BFFs, and the Lakers brand is so alluring, that James will take a huge paycut and take a massive gamble to join a gutted organization in a loaded conference, all while making 9-11M less per year than Kobe is.

    Sorry, but I just can’t see it.


  67. The big three in Mia take less money and add Melo.

    I happen to believe that this is their number 1 option.


  68. Renato Afonso June 25, 2014 at 3:59 am


    In my perspective, the Lakers grip over fans around the world has not strengthened. You could actually say it’s the other way around. When I was young I had to choose between the Lakers and the Celtics because those were basically the only NBA games televised in most of Europe. Then came the Pistons (amazingly, I don’t know a Pistons fan) and the Bulls with Michael Jordan. Most of Europe with 30 years or more likes the Lakers, Celtics or Bulls. Kids, nowadays, have D-Wade posters and KD’s jerseys and marvel at the Blake Griffin “dunks” and support the team that has their favorite player, which simply didn’t happen when I was young.

    So, basically while you can argue that there are more Lakers fans worldwide you have to understand that the percentage of Lakers supporters is actually decreasing as the game becomes more global.

    (There are also plenty of Spurs fans because they play the game closer to what we play in Europe)


  69. rr,
    LeBron wouldn’t be taking a huge pay cut as you say. He could opt out after 3 or 4 years also. He was due 20 million this year in Mia and would be making 17 in LA if everything goes to plan. There is also a huge clause in his nike contract that kicks in if he goes to LA or NY that more than makes up for it. The rumors are (out of MIA) that LBJ is no longer “in concert” with Wade and Bosh this time around. And trust me… That is because Wade and Bosh “suck so bad” as you put it.

    “Despite the Heat and Clippers’ recent successes, the Lakers still dominate the internet in searches. The Lakers index of 4.47 nearly doubles that of the Heat and Celtics, the second and third highest teams, combined. The Chris Paul-Blake Griffin duo brought the Clippers to an index of 0.58, far below the Lakers’ mark.”


  70. The lakers still have a tight grip on the worldwode nba fan base with something g like 50-60% of all nba related traffic on the internet being laker related which is why we see so many non story laker news up on espn

    Hawes sucks … would much rather keep gasol and end up retiring both him and kobe in the rafters … if gasol goes to sam antonio or miami that team makes the finals again next year


  71. But even if you are right, James would be sharing that digital spotlight–with Kobe

    LBJ would be sharing the spotlight with Kobe like he “shared” the spotlight with Wade. He would be a black hole sucking in all the Kobe fans around the world. I ask all my Heat friends who were die hard Wade fans… They are now all die hard James fans. Trust me… If LBJ came to the Lakers 90 percent of Kobe fans would soon jump to LeBron as he continues to dominate the NBA like only Jordan has before him. Kobe is on the last legs of his career… Kobe fans would have little problem leaching onto a new superstar in LA. In fact they are dying to. LeBron looks at Kobe as a turbo button for his brand as he tries to become “the first billion dollar athlete”.


  72. Mark – I agree with you regarding Lance Stephenson. Not often you can obtain an accomplished 23 year old who hasn’t peaked yet. Signing him is a no brainer.

    I have to disagree with you about Lowry and Hawes. I wrote above about how each of them are coming off career seasons. Lowry is really small and Hawes is soft. I think each of them has peaked and we’d be buying their declining years at a premium. What the Lakers have to avoid is what most of the teams in the league can’t: tying up a majority of their cap space on overvalued veterans. We need to spend our cap space wisely.

    Adding Stephenson and a solid player at #7 is a good start to the rebuild. If the Lakers want to go further both Pau and Meeks can fetch additional assets in sign and trades.


  73. KO – If your assessment of the TWC deal is accurate then I am increasingly worried about the direction the Lakers will take. The pressure to look good on the court immediately will outweigh any argument to map out a two or three year plan to get back to the top.

    All of you who are promoting the signing of players like Lowry and Hawes for 30% of our cap space will be happy. And when the Lakers do it again next year you’ll be even happier. Reality will hit when Kobe retires and 70%+ of our cap space is committed to dead weight veterans.

    If Jim Buss treats his current cap flexibility like a $1,000 burning a hole in the pocket of a college student on spring break the Lakers are in trouble.


  74. Grant: What the Lakers have to avoid is what most of the teams in the league can’t: tying up a majority of their cap space on overvalued veterans. We need to spend our cap space wisely.



  75. Chris Y.

    I totally agree! It is absolute disrespect in our what have you done for me lately, out with the old in with the new mentality, which permeates American society these days. We can be sold anything, it just needs be repeated at nauseum and it then becomes the truth regardless of any evidence to the contrary. I don’t know what Kobe will bring to the table this season but he’s done enough for the Lakers organization and the fan base to give him the benefit of at least wait and see. I applaud the Lakers for rewarding Kobe for what he has done and is currently doing to keep the Laker brand global, relevant and profitable.


  76. On snapdecision at, windhorst making the Aaron argument. Count me among the doubters, but I’m coming around to the idea that the lakers may be in second place – a very distant second mind you – to the Heat. I did not that feel that way 2 days ago.

    Is LBJ’s la/NYC Nike bonus authenticated or just rumor? Does it kick in if he’s on the clips?

    In the next 36 hours, if the lakers move the pick for a player, or especially if they move Nash and the pick for a better player, id have to believe its because Mitch thinks melo/LBJ’ is happening. Rookie contracts are gold under the CBA– no way the lakers give theirs up unless it’s part of a much bigger picture


  77. Ko: Appreciate your including me in the list of people to whom you posed your cap question. However, remember – I aspire to an owner not a GM : ) That said – as you know – I will comment on anything. So, the answer is basically – no – we can’t do that. There can be annual raises, but the percentage is dictated by the type of contract as stated in the CBA.
    CBA: The travesty of this CBA is turning out to be a lack of a minimum salary or a rule against a player taking less than his market value. Miami once again is likely to benefit. Players liking each other and wanting to play together is fine, but refusing a higher offer to win a title, while legal is not a good way to promote competitive balance. What does LBJ care if he makes 20 or 15, or 10 when a huge chunk of his income comes outside of his salary. He wants to win titles, which of course will mean more income. The big 3 could all sign for peanuts in Miami and then they could proceed to stack their team further. How does this help competitive balance? They have merely shifted the power away from rich owners to the best players. This all would have come down like this earlier if we had won it all in 2004. The sour taste in Malone’s and Gary P’s mouths discouraged others from doing that for a long time.


  78. Kobe should have taken a pay cut…it would have encouraged Gasol to follow suit and allow the team to be very aggressive in acquiring top level talent to bolster the roster..because he didnt, now management has to use extreme care and finesse.
    Yea, the goal is to send Kobe off with a sixth title, but what about the next ten years when he’s gone…Jim and Mitch are in a tough spot…


  79. Julien and Chris Y: I don’t think any Laker fan begrudges Kobe for being paid what is fair and equitable. In a league without a cap, such as baseball, you would pay Kobe a contract similar to Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera’s – the highest in the league.

    What other’s are focusing on is the fact that in a hard cap league, like the NBA, you are faced with trade-offs. Paying Kobe nearly 40% of your cap space makes it difficult to put a winning team on the court. We saw this last year and we’re likely to see a similar result this season.

    My fear, as I’ve mentioned, is that the FO, in an effort to put a winning team on the floor now, will sign veterans who absent the need to win immediately would not have been signed. These decisions can handcuff the team for years to come.

    Its a slippery slope and unfortunately our FO has created much of this drama themselves.


  80. Here is the aforementioned Whindhoarst sportcenter piece. Go to the 1:53 mark. And this is from the guy who covers lebron and the heat.


  81. Mario: If Jim Buss treats his current cap flexibility like a $1,000 burning a hole in the pocket of a college student on spring break the Lakers are in trouble.

    Great comments this morning guys!


  82. As you know I have never done pipe dreams. I upset a lot of people around here because I’m a realist. I’ve said for years how in steep decline Pau Gasol was before anyone would admit it. I’ve said how Kobe will never be a good player again after his achilles tear. I said we would be one of the worst teams in the league last year when most were predicting the playoffs. I don’t do pipe dreams. I do reality. Sometimes the reality is worst than everyone sees and sometimes it’s much much better. I saw thus coming last year (with a little insider info help) and nothing has changed. Although I figured Lebron was smart enough to know Melo wasn’t the same player last year as in years before. Apparently he is not. He is about to pick another Wade. A guy with one or two elite years left before a steep decline.


  83. There are essentially 3 ways of rebuilding the Lakers:

    Scenario 1 (The Aaron Plan): Sign 2 all-stars to play with Kobe and then fill out the roster. This would require the Lakers to shed Nash’s contract using the 7th pick as an incentive bonus if they can throw Sacre in too. They could use the MLE to sign one more guy worth about 5 million to their starting line up. While I think the Lakers would love to do this there are some problems.

    Guys like Anthony has said he could see signing with their Lakers if they “strengthen” their line up. Chicken and egg problem happens here as the Lakers can only afford to pay about 15 million a piece if the 2 all-stars sign on first then the Lakers fill out the roster.

    Scenario 2 (Best Feasible Roster Now): In this scenario the Lakers again move Nash but bring back a fairly good player while sacrificing the 7th pick. Assuming Kobe’s salary 24 million plus incoming salary of around 10 million plus 5 million of cap holds the Lakers could then spend about 30 million up to the Luxury cap filling the roster.

    Problems here while the Lakers could afford to get 1 max salary guy the question would be who? Would the Lakers have to first sign all their role players before a big name signs. Would anyone still be available by that time? With easier ready made teams like Chicago out there. If not do the Lakers fill out the roster with mid-tier talent? That might make them a play off contender but, I think the Lakers want “the guy” who will be the face of the franchise post Kobe.

    Scenario 3 (The Vasheed Plan): The Vasheed plan requires getting talent in the draft, acquiring expiring contracts, and signing key role players who are versatile.

    The first part of this plan requires seeing who is available at the 7th Pick. If Smart is there then the Lakers should take him as he is a guy they could likely plug into the starting line up on the cheap. If not trading down makes the most sense. Picking up LaVine would be a great choice to add depth to the bench who could develop into a premiere player a year two down the road while landing more assets later in the draft. Mitch has said there is talent the Lakers would like to have that he would not expect to go until the early 2nd round.

    The second part of this plan requires bringing in expiring contracts. If the luxury tax is roughly 70 million and salary cap is 63 million that means the Lakers if they pay up the Luxury tax would have to shed roughly 25 million at the end of the year in order to be in the running to landing the next franchise player the following year. This means the Lakers could hold onto Nash or trade him for another expiring contract and they could take back an additional 15 million in contracts cumulatively. Doing so can provide guys who are good starters if somewhat overpaid while possibly bringing in more draft picks to bolster the long term roster.

    The third and final portion of this is adding long term key guys with the remaining money. Lets assume the bench guys 6-12 will each make 1 million. So thats 7 million. Lets assume the we have 2 expiring contracts who can start worth 25 million. Then we have Kobe at 24 million. Our rookie slot i believe is 2.5 million who if on the bench most likely adds 1.5 million to the bench or if Smart fills a starting position. This leaves roughly 13 million to fill 1 or 2 slots in the starting line up most likely 2. This means the Lakers can sign a Stephenson or Lowry but then only have the budget for a guy worth about 3 million for the remaining starting spot. Or they can sign guys Like my frequent suggestion Vasquez the 6′-6″ PG from Toronto who has in the past shown he can distribute the ball and has the ability to switch over to SG or SF which becomes important in creating mismatches or fielding a best possible roster if injuries occur, for around 4 to 5 million and still have 7 million for another modest but capable starter.


  84. Nick Van Exile June 25, 2014 at 10:35 am

    To all you Hawes Haters ™, he shot 128-308 from 3 point range over 80 games last season for a 41.6%, including a stellar 47-105 (44.8%!) when he was traded to Cleveland and playing with a better point guard. His 3 point shooting percentage for the year was 10th in the league, 0.1% behind Klay Thompson. While shooting such a high percentage from long range, he still managed to get 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game (to go along with his 13.2 points). He’s young at 26 and has the size and mobility to do a decent job of guarding centers and power forwards. A stretch 4/5 like Hawes would almost be required for a Lakers lineup that will include Kobe playing a lot in the post and a #7 draft pick that will most likely not have 3 point range (at least not in their first few seasons) in Vonleh/Randle/Gordon. Now, I’m not saying Hawes is the Lakers’ savior but a $7million/year contract (I wouldn’t go higher than this) is market value for a stretch 4/5 and is a very tradeable contract. The Lakers could also go with Okafor if they want more of a rim protector at center (he’d probably be cheaper too since he’s coming off of injury) and I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to signing Gasol for the same amount for 2 years to have him retire as a Laker with Kobe (but he said last season that he feels like he could play for another 5 years). Comparing Hawes to Slava or downplaying what Hawes did for an entire season (on two different teams running two different offensive/defensive systems) is just silly.

    As far as Lance Stephenson goes, there’s no question he’s talented. All the maturity, non-basketball related issues (blowing on LeBron, calling out LeBron, fighting with his teammates, stealing rebounds from his teammates to pad his stats, etc.) are a huge concern though. The Pacers had a veteran group of guys in their locker room and even in the high stakes of the playoffs, they couldn’t seem to do anything with Lance. Perhaps, on the right team with the right coach/players, maybe someone could get through to Lance. I’d be really worried that Lance would wreak havoc on a Lakers’ locker room that was surprisingly good, considering all the injuries and losing. People have made the comparison to MWP working out fine with the Lakers, but MWP was a lot older and had time to mature from his crazier Malice in the Palace days. Based off of talent alone, signing Stephenson is a no-brainer but factoring in his maturity, it becomes a gamble to invest in him long-term. Isaiah Thomas is another good option if Lowry re-signs with the Raptors. I’m sure he could be had for considerably less than Lowry so the Lakers’ could use the money saved re-sign Nick Young as their sixth man.

    Like it or not, the Lakers have to build a team around Kobe and they can’t just do it through the draft (they might have been able to if they hadn’t traded away so many draft picks for Nash and Howard). Having said that, I was surprised to read this article on a Celtics blog detailing how the Celtics could help the Lakers get LeBron and Melo (and they advocated doing it):


  85. aid we would be one of the worst teams in the league last year when most were predicting the playoffs.

    I would change this from “most” to “some.”

    And, I will leave this discussion at “I hope you’re right.”


  86. chris y:
    If you have 4 players around $900k-3 million
    If you have 3 players in the $5-8 million
    If you have 3 players in the $10-15 mil
    If you have 2 players making $20-25 million

    that’s right at about $100 million maybe a little more. That’s where the cap should be. That’s why it’s really annoying when people cite the cap

    Unfortunately, the Lakers operate in a world where the cap actually is $63 million.


  87. The Lakers index of 4.47 nearly doubles that of the Heat and Celtics, the second and third highest teams, combined. The Chris Paul-Blake Griffin duo brought the Clippers to an index of 0.58, far below the Lakers’ mark.”

    These changes take time. If the Lakers are bad for several years, they will still be the Lakers, like the Yankees will always be the Yankees. But there will be a shift in these kinds of numbers.


  88. rr,
    We will see if Wade and Bosh Are willing to take less money to allow for Melo to come. If not it’s pretty much a gueruntee LBJ and Melo come to the Lakers as they have no other better options.


  89. Go to the 1:53 mark

    Windhorst just said that the Lakers may try to do it, and that James and Anthony would “listen.” He also speculated that the Lakers would call Krzysewski if it happened, which caused the moderator guy to actually sort of laugh in his face. Windhorst also said, “I’m not saying it’s likely.”

    The other guy, Tim Legler, said what I personally think will happen: James stays in Miami and Anthony goes to Chicago.


  90. Nick Van Exile June 25, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Vasheed: You’re right… Greivis Vasquez is another good option. If the Raptors get in a bidding war for Lowry and have to pay him in the ~12M/year range, they may not be able to afford re-signing Vasquez too. He could probably be had in the ~4M/year range. It’d be a homecoming of sorts (he was drafted by the Lakers) and he has a great nickname too (General Greivis)! I’d still prefer Lowry but Thomas and Vasquez are good options too and would likely offer more payroll flexibility. Because there is so much talent available at the PG position, I don’t advocate taking Smart over Vonleh/Randle/Gordon. I think it would be better to draft one of the PFs and sign an available PG with proven NBA experience.

    RE: Melo, I’m not sure how a LeBron/Melo/Kobe meshing would work but I have to disagree with those about Melo only being good for another 2 years or so. Melo’s game has never relied on speed or athleticism like Wade’s so I think it will age a lot better.


  91. So now Kobe is being blamed for making the extremely unlikely pairing of Carmelo and Lebron in LA (which is based entirely on rumor) even more unlikely? You guys are out of control.


  92. Aaron: We will see if Wade and Bosh Are willing to take less money to allow for Melo to come. If not it’s pretty much a gueruntee LBJ and Melo come to the Lakers as they have no other better options.

    You can’t be serious. Lebron could force his way onto any team in the league. With a few of them, good ones by the way (Houston & Chicago) who could easily fit him in without stripping their teamn bare. And you assume he’s coming to the Lakers? And bringing Melo in tow? I would love to know who your inside source is.


  93. rr,
    People laugh when they get nervous or excited. Everyone laughed when people suggested Wade, bosh and LBJ were all going to Miami. I don’t care about people’s reactions. If Melo and LeBron went to the lakers we would have our pick of the best coaches in the world. Coach K would be an option.


  94. I love Aaron’s optimism – “pretty much a guarantee” Melo and Lebron come to the Lakers if Wade doesn’t take a pay cut.
    That’s what I call seeing the world through Forum blue-colored lenses 🙂

    NVE – agree Melo is still in his prime and I believe he’ll be good for quite awhile. Too bad he probably won’t come without Lebron, as he seems to prefer a pre-upgraded team.

    I see the Lakers making a deal for a vet, as opposed to keeping the pick.
    I think the contract to Kobe makes it obvious they aren’t choosing a long rebuild.

    Kudos to Chris Y for finally understanding the cap, objecting to it, and ultimately re-writing it 🙂


  95. I do NOT wnt lebron to be a laker but I would love to have melo lowry an maybe draft noah/randle/gordon an keep pau


  96. rr: I don’t know you at all. However, I read the board religiously and have always found your takes solid and grounded in reality. So many on the board are talking about Lebron and Melo to the Lakers as if it is the proverbial slam dunk. I can name a number of reasons why this is fantasy but it wouldn’t stop the Aaron’s of the world from stating with confidence that it is so.

    What is your take on this situation?


  97. Doug,
    As has been discussed Melo and LBJ have agreed to play together last offseason just as Wade, LBJ, and Bosh did four years ago. And LeBron and top free agents that have a choice would only play in SF, LA, NY, and Mia.


  98. Aaron: As has been discussed Melo and LBJ have agreed to play together last offseason just as Wade, LBJ, and Bosh did four years ago. And LeBron and top free agents that have a choice would only play in SF, LA, NY, and Mia.

    How do the Lakers make more sense than the Knicks?


  99. This all would have come down like this earlier if we had won it all in 2004. The sour taste in Malone’s and Gary P’s mouths discouraged others from doing that for a long time.


    Oh, I dunno, it almost worked, didn’t it? Even though Malone and the Glove were both past their prime. Even though Glove was a malcontent over playing time. Even with the distraction of Kobe shuttling back and forth between Colorado and … wherever the team happened to be playing. I’m convinced had Malone been even somewhat healthy in the Finals the Lakers would have hung a banner …


  100. Grant,
    The Knicks don’t have any cap room until next year.


  101. Grant,
    Nobody on here thinks this will happen except for me.


  102. People here have short term memory… They seem to forget that Dwight howard left the lakers in spite of those lame “stay” billboards AND max money. Lebron and carmelo to the lakers will not happen. Lakers brand has substantially faded thanks to jim buss.


  103. This is all very exciting! I really hope Aaron is not on acid and that his inside info and hunches are correct on this one.

    Go Lakers!

    Lucky number 7, please fetch us a good veteran! Let’s Go!


  104. Aaron: Nobody on here thinks this will happen except for me.

    Not saying you are crazy but at least now I know I’m not.


  105. Aaron,

    Not true, dude. I believe too. I need some hope in these desperate times.

    To illustrate: picture me at the top of the hollywood hills looking at the sun with arms wide open, as if asking the Basketball Gods for an embrace, yelling: “I believe tooooooooo!”


  106. If the “Big Game” hunting fails to net Lebron, Carmelo, and the rest, I feel the best strategy might be to try to turn the #7 pick into 2 later-round first-rounders, if possible. Something like Shabazz Napier and the draft rights to Dario Saric (who won’t be coming over this year) sounds pretty good to me, if that would be at all possible ..


  107. As has been discussed Melo and LBJ have agreed to play together last offseason just as Wade, LBJ, and Bosh did four years ago.

    Discussed by whom? Aaron, you treat this detail as though it is fact with nothing to substantiate it beyond your own belief in it.

    With Bigfoot, I cannot say with absolute 100 percent certainty that there is no such creature out in the woods somewhere. The world is a big place and lots of things happen unbeknownst to the world at large. But I don’t believe in Bigfoot just because someone assures me it’s real. I need proof before I accept that as fact.

    I think it’s safe to say most fans here dispute your assertion that the LBJ-Anthony “pact” exists up until there is some clear evidence to suggest as much, beyond your ubiquitous comments here. Their opting out can mean a lot of things, so please don’t say that’s proof.

    I hope you are correct on LeBron; not such much on Melo. I do not believe pairing those two with Kobe would work on the floor, particular with how little money would be left to fill out the roster.


  108. I also think that there is a chance of landing Melo and Lebron, just because the Lakers always seem to pull these kind of players into Laker kingdom. Of course that was with the doctor at the helm, but still, anything can happen, and I hope this does for everyone’s sake.

    Go Lakers…


  109. Just need to dump Nash along with whomever they take with the 7th pick for a future pick to clear cap space. If that happens, bron, Melo, and coach k will be a package deal. I believe it will happen!!


  110. Btw 96 draft on nbatv right now. Mamba just got drafted!! ????


  111. So now Kobe is being blamed for making the extremely unlikely pairing of Carmelo and Lebron in LA (which is based entirely on rumor) even more unlikely?

    Ok, one more time: Kobe is not, for the most part, being blamed for signing the deal. Those of us who don’t like it, which includes huge KB fans (Robert) and KB defenders if not massive fans (me) blame the FO for offering it.

    But really, Robert is your go-to guy here. He loves Kobe–has traveled to road games to watch Kobe hit milestones, etc.

    And Robert doesn’t like the deal–because he doesn’t see it as a move that will help the team get back into contention. It is quite possible to believe that and still love/support/respect the Mamba.


  112. My exact pipe dream includes Coach K. That would be amazing!


  113. Nick Van Exile June 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I posted this link in a post that’s still in moderation limbo but they are even talking about the possibility of LeBron/Melo coming to the Lakers (and how the Celtics can help them) on a Celtics blog:

    LeBron/Melo to the Lakers is a pipe dream. But if by some miracle it happens, Jim and Mitch (and Aaron!) are going to be handing out some serious crow!


  114. Grant,

    We always have to attach the obvious caveat to these things, which is that we don’t know what these guys are thinking, or what they saying when they send texts to each other, etc. Other than that, I just try to keep it simple and tend to figure that guys who are among the top 20-30 players in the game, and have been around awhile, have already signed one extension, and can pick who they want to play for, will mostly want to put themselves in position to:

    a) Contend immediately
    b) Have a 2-4 year contention window based on the roster core
    c) Make around the max that they can, if not the actual max.

    Howard saw that in Houston; he didn’t see it here or in Orlando, so he left. Paul did see that with the Clippers, so he stayed. James didn’t see that in Cleveland, he did see/create it in Miami, so he left. Love doesn’t see that in Minnesota, so he wants to leave. Anthony doesn’t see it in New York, so I think he will leave. Durant saw that in OKC, so he stayed.

    I was (among others) one of the first people here to say that Dwight Howard would probably go to Houston, for these exact reasons. All of these guys are going to make a lot of money, be on the All-Star team, be famous, etc. So they want to be on good teams while still feeling respected in terms of pay, as Nowitzki put it.

    It is more complicated that that of course, but I think that is the basic thing to look for. Guys start there, IMO, and then look at all the other stuff.

    So, with James, I think that he opted out as a tactical move, and Wade and Bosh will opt out as well. Yes, San Antonio crushed Miami, but Miami made the Finals, fairly easily. I think James figures that if he, Wade, and Bosh take a little less money, Miami’s FO can upgrade the team 4-8 enough that they can get back there, and then take their chances. And, James is holding all the cards here. He can get a deal with opt-outs after Year 1, Year 2, etc. so if Wade completely breaks down, and/or the team gets worse, James can put himself right back on the market.

    As to Anthony, I am sure that he would like to play with James, but I don’t think he will do it in Miami for 10M. So, I think he will look around for another winning situation where he can get 16-17M and play for Chicago. The gamble there is Derrick Rose–but even without Rose, Chicago would still be very good with Anthony.

    There is one caveat: the Wade/James relationship. For the above to happen, Wade and James have to be a package deal, they have to be in it together. What Aaron is ultimately saying is that Wade and James are not a package deal–and Anthony and James are. If that is actually true, Aaron might turn out to be right.

    But Wade is the guy James has won two titles with, moved to Miami in part for, played with, hung with, etc, for the last four years. I think that James wants to continue that relationship, just with a few adjustments, like a married couple who need to talk some problems out but have no interest in a divorce.

    And then, of course, it is not as if the Lakers are a tremendously attractive option right now. No one has any idea how well or how much Kobe will play, no matter how many times people here post that they believe in him and how much revenue he generates, and his salary will take up nearly 35-40% of the cap for the next two years. Jim Buss has not proven that he can do the job as an executive. The Lakers have no roster and no coach, and are looking up at literally every single team in a stacked conference. I don’t see James walking away from the Miami situation that he helped create to come into the situation here.


  115. But if by some miracle it happens, Jim and Mitch (and Aaron!) are going to be handing out some serious crow!

    And I for one will consume it with relish (both literal and figurative).


  116. Grant,

    Posted a long response to you.


  117. rr: Thank you for your well thought out and well written post. I think all of the FBG readers benefited from it.

    Like you I think Lebron and Melo are long shots but I would be open to having some warm crow if it indeed came true.


  118. Carmelo Anthony has decided to visit the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls once teams are allowed to meet with free agents on July 1, according to league sources.
    The meetings have not been set up because the teams are not yet allowed to contact free agents. But Anthony has decided he will give those three teams a chance to recruit him when they are able to.
    Carmelo Anthony will have his hands full with trips expected to be lined up to Houston, Chicago and Dallas once free agency begins.While there has been speculation that Chicago is at the top of Anthony’s list of potential destinations, one source said there is no true favorite in his mind.
    The New York Knicks, who can offer Anthony $33 million more than any other team, are also still very much alive in bringing back the All-Star forward.Though the Los Angeles Lakers are not on Anthony’s current list, Kobe Bryant plans to recruit him to the team. Bryant, who is close with Anthony, spoke to him by telephone when they were in separate parts of Europe earlier this week.

    Bryant told in a text message that he plans to meet with Anthony, as well.



  119. Phil just cleared $7M off next year’s books and dumped Fat Ray’s contract. Dalembert’s $4M for next year is non-guaranteed. One more salary dump (Amare attached with future picks OR Bargnani+ JR Smith + picks) and Knicks will have room for LBJ and can re-sign Melo. Damn!


  120. rr: With reference to the Kobe discussion, you have once again summarized things perfectly. Both in terms of how you said I would feel about it, and in terms of how it is impacting us. And to be clear for all:
    Kobe is my favorite Laker (even beyond Magic) and favorite sports figure of all time. I am not ashamed to admit that I have more than one photo of him on my wall, some of which have me in the photo. That said – I did not, and do not like the extension. I do not blame Kobe for it however. If someone offers you $48 million to play basketball for 2 years – there is only one thing to say: OK


  121. Robert that’s too bad.

    I already called my friend at CAA Sports dept to pitch my new Reality Series.

    King James takes Sunset.



  122. rr: Absolutely on the money in your response to Grant. Great predictive reasoning based on factual evidence.


  123. Thanks for the response rr, but Robert is wishing for Byron to coach Kobe. How much of a Kobe fan can Robert be if he is wishing for Kobe to get tortured by playing under Byron? Haha. Jk.

    As far as your feelings for Kobe, I’m just trying to help you get out of the Kobe hating closet that you seem to be trapped in. I want you to be free like Todd, Big Sid and JC. Again, jk….not really.


  124. It’s all shaking up perfectly for Miami and LA. The only teams not on Carmelo’s and LBJs lists are the Lakers and the Heat. Hhhhmmm???


  125. Kobe Bryant plans to recruit him to the team. Bryant, who is close with Anthony, spoke to him by telephone when they were in separate parts of Europe earlier this week.

    Bryant told in a text message that he plans to meet with Anthony, as well


    That should clinch ‘Melo not coming to LA, if Kobe’s velvet soft touch when recruiting DH is any indication.


  126. If Lakers can’t even get a meeting w Melo, in the wake of Dwight leaving – the worm has truly turned.
    Phil’s departure is sinking in.
    It may be time to face facts and start a true rebuild and do the work required.
    If you build it they will come.
    We need to start at the bottom.


  127. Well the Warriors are reportedly trying to get Kevin Love and then sign LeBron. If LBJ can let go of Melo (he won’t) because that would be a great team for Bron. Love and Curry spreading the floor for LBJ? Wow.


  128. “If Lakers can’t even get a meeting w Melo, in the wake of Dwight leaving – the worm has truly turned.”

    How much more attractive would the Lakers look to Carmelo and LeBron if they still had Dwight Howard?


  129. So which team ya got?

    Do Lakers or Heat Have Better Shot at LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony Pairing?


  130. LJ,Bosh and Wade are meeting in Miami right now as we speak. I for one dont want either LJ or Melo on the Lakers for reasons i stated a million times for the longest time, this is not the summer that we need to make a dramatic move. For me is all bs Lebron aint going nowhere if Pat Riley has anything to say about it, all this seems like a strategy to improve the Heat by convincing Wade and Bosh to take paycuts. As for Melo i could not care less where he takes his no defense talents. If the Lakers could make that trade to Philly and a couple of moves between bringing back the best of our sorry last season team (we know who they are) and a couple of additions, we should have a solid foundation moving fwd. For me this Lebron+Melo talk is media stirred bs, im sorry. Im more intrigued about tomorrow night than this nonsense.


  131. This sums up my points pretty well…

    If James wants to go for the high-scale rebuild, he’ll head for Los Angeles with Anthony to help Kobe Bryant put the storied franchise back on its feet. The Lakers could execute a pre-emptive strike, too, perhaps trading their No. 7 pick and point guard Steve Nash (one year left on his deal at $9.7 million) for a quality player before Thursday night’s draft and thus sending a message that they’re serious about this pitch. If Nash were off the books for next season, then Bryant’s $23.5 million salary would make up almost all of the Lakers’ wide-open payroll.


  132. Phil is targeting pj hairston larkin and #34 will be traded to get I to thw 1st round

    Big night tomorrow and an even bigger next week

    My ideal offseason looks like this
    – keep pau and play him at centre
    – resign hill as our 3rd big
    – draft smart or exum if he drops
    – try for melo if nkt d
    – resign swaggy and meeks
    – trade nash at the deadline to a team with a messed up cap sheet


  133. what are some reasons the rockets trade asik so early in the offseason?


  134. Rox dumped asik, Lin next, then want to sign lebron and trade beard for Melo!! Wowwww


  135. The Houston Rockets have agreed to trade defensive specialist center Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans in a deal aimed at clearing salary-cap space to chase LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in free agency, sources told

    In exchange for Asik, the Rockets will receive the Pelicans’ 2015 first-round draft pick. The Rockets also will include $1.5 million in cash as part of the deal.

    This maneuver by the Rockets also sets up the team to trade point guard Jeremy Lin, which would open up enough cap space for the Rockets to make a run at James and Anthony


  136. Houston moved Asik to NO for their pick…so they have a lottery pick now as well.


  137. Correction–it is the 2015 pick. not this one.


  138. Is this not an exciting year for NBA fans!
    Great thread Darius.


  139. @Aaron
    This right here is the biggest draw for us-
    “If James wants to go for the high-scale rebuild, he’ll head for Los Angeles with Anthony to help Kobe Bryant put the storied franchise back on its feet.”

    You do this for the Lakers when all looks like it’s most bleak…you become instant legend in my opinion. I don’t care what Knicks fans think- Los Angeles and Staples Center, in particular, is the Mecca of basketball.

    I’d like to be on record as saying that, if Lebron and Melo come to the Lakers, I will purchase some wine from KO and have him ship it to Aaron because he called this like two years ago.


  140. @R
    “That should clinch ‘Melo not coming to LA, if Kobe’s velvet soft touch when recruiting DH is any indication.”

    I’m pretty certain that Kobe’s pitch to Melo or Lebron would be nothing like his pitch to DH. He respects the hell out of Anthony and Lebron is a proven champion. Completely different convo.


  141. Ken

    If they end up on Lakers it’s wine and beer for all!

    Matter of fact i will throw in my wife and car.


  142. KenOak – well, let’s hope so!


  143. LeBron looks at Kobe as a turbo button for his brand as he tries to become “the first billion dollar athlete”.

    On June 12, 2014 Forbes announced MJ as the first billionaire NBA player. This after he upped his shareholdings in the Hornets.

    LBJ to the Lakers could happen. He’s learned how to operate while being the villain, lol.


  144. How much more attractive would the Lakers look to Carmelo and LeBron if they still had Dwight Howard?

    A lot, although I don’t think it would be possible to get all three of them plus Kobe under the cap. But if the Lakers had Howard in the middle, James and Anthony as individuals would be looking at them seriously, IMO, and I think Howard would also help with pitches to Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love.


  145. So let’s see.

    Houston trade’s Asik for nothing
    New York trades Chandler
    Mavs trade Delemback

    And Jimmy boy does NOTHING

    And our starting center is Sock it to me.Sacre

    Is this going to be a sit and wait while the test of the NBA gets things done ?

    Well I guess he must think if he does nothing then he can ‘t be blamed for screwing up again!

    No coach, no center, no players.


  146. It’s just a guess what LeBron’s going to do …or Melo. So someone maybe guesses right. Yawn. I think LeBron will choose his best and quickest chance to win more titles. That was why he went to Miami. The Lakers really cannot guarantee anything in that regard. If LeBron and Melo somehow worked it out to play for Jim Buss, with only a questionable Kobe, and an entirely unknown direction with nothing left to spend, I’d have to wonder if they know what they’re doing.


  147. Nick Van Exile June 26, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I was impressed the Rockets were able to get a first round pick from NO for Asik. They couldn’t find anyone willing to give up a first rounder for him in December through February and it seemed they would have to give teams their draft pick to take on Asik’s salary. That sets the bar for other expiring contracts that teams are looking to dump for cap space (Boozer and Lin) for runs at LBJ/Melo. I think that takes away some possible options for the Lakers to acquire additional 2014 first round picks with their cap space.