It’s the day after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the slowest day of the sports year, so what better time to manufacture a “big” news story?
As if anybody had any doubt that the Lakers, who have just one contract on the books beyond this season, would be active in the 2014 free agent market, ESPN reminded everybody about it Wednesday with a report that the Lakers are “poised to rebuild fast” by focusing on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, who could opt out of their deals next summer.
To be clear, the report does not say James or Anthony has considered the move. And anyone with an Internet connection can see that Steve Nash‘s $9.7 million is all the Lakers have dedicated to their 2014-15 payroll, so the Lakers are “poised” to pursue James and Anthony for the same reasons the Utah Jazz are — because they have cap space. That doesn’t mean they will or that the interest is mutual.
In addition, Kobe Bryant, whose $30.5 million deal expires at the end of the season, has said he will not accept a pay cut on his next contract, though he wants to play two more years. If the Lakers want James and/or Anthony, it could come at the expense of cutting ties with Bryant. Lakers fans probably wouldn’t be very happy about that.
ESPN’s sources sound understandably conflicted about an All-Star team-up in Los Angeles. One source called the possibility of James and Anthony signing with the Lakers “realistic” while another called it “far-fetched.”
The Lakers are hurting right now. They lost out on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, learning for the first time what it’s like to fail in pursuing a top-flight free agent, and they would like to make a big splash as soon as possible.
Anything can happen in Hollywood, but movie magic won’t suddenly erase all the issues the Lakers would face in making this all work.