With Carmelo Anthony nearing his decision on where to play next season, the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers are in the conversation to land the seven-time All-Star says much about the organization.
The Lakers are coming off their worst season in franchise history since they moved to Los Angeles. The team’s roster is now bare with likely just six players on the roster in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, and if they pick up his team option, Kendall Marshall. The team’s two best players at the moment in Bryant and Nash are both coming off serious injuries, and there are questions about their playing ability heading into this upcoming season.
With that in mind, the obvious question that will arise is how are they in contention with so many questions surrounding the team?
Could it be because the Lakers are the only team outside of the New York Knicks offering him a max contract? Could it be because he will be playing in another large market? Or could it be because he will be playing alongside Bryant?
That is the million dollar question for Anthony, who has a max contract offer of five years and $129 million from the Knicks. Team president Phil Jackson has told Anthony his plans were to use him as a centerpiece and have him recruit players in the next two offseasons when the team will be strapped with plenty of cap space to make a splash via free agency.
However, there are several reports that the 11-year veteran is still bothered by Jackson’s suggestion a few months prior for him to take a pay cut. It may seem like a something small, but for Anthony that could be a big deal to him as he believes that he is a player worth a max contract.
For Anthony, it is going to come down to whose plan does he have more faith in coming to fruition. Both teams do not have prosperous immediate futures, but down the road each could become championship-contending teams.
In Los Angeles’ case with Anthony on the roster, the team could still sign Pau Gasol because they still hold his Bird rights, and if they are able to move Nash the team could use that added cap space to sign some quality free agents to fill the roster. The Lakers could also wait until next season when Nash’s contract will be off the books and use the cap space then to sign a player or two. If the team does not sign Gasol, they could make a run at Kevin Love if he has not been locked up to a long-term deal with a team by then.
As for New York, they could also add another player to the team, in particular Gasol who the team has interest in signing. However, this would require for the 33-year-old to take a massive pay cut to $3.3 million a season, which is a drastic drop from the $10-12 million he is looking for. The Knicks, like the Lakers, could be major players in the next two offseasons with plenty of cap space to spend with the large contracts of Amar’e Stoudamire and J.R. Smith coming off the books. They could also be a possible destination for Love if he is still available next offseason.
Ultimatly, Anthony has a major decision to make and whatever team he chooses to play with next season will be highly scrutinized for why he picked them. His decision will be a career-changing choice, and the 30-year-old knows that and now must decide on which organization he has the most faith in.
Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/ NY Post
Bob Garcia IV
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