The Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be taking a hard look at the summer’s two biggest free agents, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, in an all-out bid to get one more championship before Kobe Bryant retires.
The team is reportedly interested in James after he opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat, but the Los Angeles Times noted that they are proceeding with caution with the possibility that he could sign with the Heat in a restructured deal.
The NBA Finals showed that the Heat were a team with many flaws, namely a lack of depth beyond James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. If LeBron can restructure his deal — taking closer to $17 million or $18 million next season instead of the $20 million he’s due to get — the team could have the cash necessary to pick up some more pieces.
But the Los Angeles Lakers are proceeding nonetheless, and will likely inquire about James. It isn’t known if the team is seeking to fly King James out to Los Angeles for a visit, however.
LeBron James might not be the only high-profile free agent target for the Los Angeles Lakers. They are also reportedly interested in Carmelo Anthony, who himself opted out of a deal with the New York Knicks.
The Los Angeles Times cites a source who says the Lakers aren’t as interested in Carmelo as they are LeBron.
Both would likely have to take less money to join the Lakers. Kobe Bryant is set to make $23.5 million next year, and overall the team is approaching the salary cap.
LeBron James might be willing to take a bit less money if the Lakers were on the verge of a championship, but they seem to be going in the opposite direction. The team is getting older, and finished next to last in the Western Conference last season.
The Lakers appear ready to reload, however. The team has been in talks with the Golden State Warriors to acquire sharpshooter Klay Thompson, who has the potential to inherit the team once Kobe retires.
It’s not clear just how much interest the Los Angeles Lakers have in LeBron James, or how much interest he has in going there. ESPN reported that the Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets are at the top of his list, while the Los Angeles Clippers have been ruled out. There was no mention of the Lakers.