Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of work to do this offseason if they want to even sniff the playoffs next year, and Kobe is apparently looking to go for the hard sell on Knicks free agent Carmelo Anthony. Meanwhile, top NBA Draft prospect Joel Embiid is tweeting that he’s already a Laker. What’s up with that?
No one knows where Carmelo Anthony will wind up signing, or if he’ll even leave New York, but the Knicks star’s choice to opt out of his contract has set general managers league-wide to scrambling, trying to figure out a way to land him, Lebron James, or both. The Lakers are no different, and team ambassador Kobe Bryant is said to be looking to court Carmelo and bring him to the City of Angels.
ESPN‘s Chris Broussard reported on Thursday that Bryant and Carmelo have already spoken on the phone regarding the Knicks star’s possible future with the Lakers. Both Kobe and Anthony were in Europe on separate business earlier this week, and Kobe reached out to Carmelo.
In a later text message to ESPN, Kobe confirmed that he plans to meet with Anthony in the near future, likely with the goal of convincing Carmelo to move from one coast to the other.
Landing Carmelo wouldn’t be an open and shut deal for Bryant and the Lakers. Kobe could be a draw, but there is definitely competition from a number of other teams, including the Houston Rockets, who are rumored to be considering a blockbuster deal that would send star guard James Harden to New York in exchange for Anthony.
With or without the Knicks star, Kobe is looking to make next year into a standout season. Bryant missed the vast majority of the Lakers’ games last year due to injury, and the Lakers posted an abysmal record with Kobe absent. That record, though, got them some hope in the form of the No. 7 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, a fact that has led to its own interesting news items of late.
Kansas’ Joel Embiid is widely regarded as a high draft pick, but recent news that he had sustained a stress fracture in his foot may have hurt his stock a little. Recently, though, Embiid tweeted and deleted a claim that he would be joining Kobe in LA.
“I’m a Laker,” Embiid’s initial tweet read. That one was quickly followed up with multiple frowny faces and a warning to “back off” from Embiid. A later tweet explained that a friend had supposedly sent out the message.
No matter whom the Lakers select, the team will enter the 2014-2015 season with more uncertainty than it has seen in quite some time. Besides draft picks, the Lakers will also have to decide who will coach Kobe and crew this year. There is also the question of just how healthy Kobe and the Lakers’ elder statesmen will be going into the season. Kobe now says he’s at 100 percent, but 100 percent of old Kobe Bryant? Or 100 percent of what the current Kobe Bryant can muster?
Lead image via H4 Entertainment.