What’s up everyone!
Its been a fun offseason for the NBA, with teams and players having the always fun game of predicting where they will play during the next super summer offseason, which is looking like it could be 2014, when LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will have the ability to opt out of their current deals. One of the teams that look to be getting ready for one or both of those marquee talents is the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers have not committed many multi-year contracts for the upcoming season, with the exception of Steve Nash. The team used their amnesty clause opt-out on Metta World Peace, who signed with the New York Knicks earlier this week. The rumor mill has been putting together the puzzle pieces that would alallow James and Melo to come to Los Angeles and basically build another “Big 3” similar to what the Miami Heat did in 2010, culminating in the infamous “The Decision” TV special, which was used for LeBron to make the announcement that he was going to play for the Miami Heat, and it would be he, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Carmelo Anthony had a bit less fanfare when he was looking to get traded from the Denver Nuggets, but the Nuggets did honor his request and Carmelo was traded to the Knicks, and has helped the Knicks go back to respectability and become a force in the NBA Eastern Conference, and one of the few teams that can compete against the Heat.
But having one or BOTH players going to the Los Angeles Lakers, though? What kind of impact would that have?
My guess would be that it would be the same level that the Miami Heat had when they put their team together, but on a bigger level with the history of the Lakers as one of the most powerful sports franchises in the world. If the team were to get LeBron and Melo, to go along with Kobe, you are essentially setting up the GREATEST TEAM EVER.
Yup, I said it. The GREATEST TEAM EVER. And that might actually be an understatement.
Where the Lakers would have to make sure they were smart in a financial sense is that they have to make sure that if they were to get both or one of the players there, they have to make sure there is a functional big man in the middle. Since Dwight Howard decided to take a walk on the wild side and join the Houston Rockets last week, the team doesn’t have a true “big” outside of Pau Gasol. Gasol is in the last year of his current deal, and the Lakers would be smart to try to either bring him back at a very reduced price or trade him this season, and get a variety of young pieces back who are cheap and can compliment the potential Big 3 2.0.
This past season, the Lakers had a lot of dead weight on the team that clearly brought the team down and not even Kobe when he was putting in 30 could help it out. The Lakers will not win a championship with Steve Blake, Andrew Goudelock, and Darius Morris coming off of the bench. Just. Not. Going. To. Happen. If the team were to put the Big 3 2.0 together, players from all around the league will come at a low price just to play there and win a championship, even players who could demand a larger salary on the open market. Someone the level of maybe an Amare Stoudamire, who isn’t what he used to be, but can be a strong enough force to make an impact on a team that would be the GREATEST TEAM EVER. Fill that roster with mid-level players, a few guys you can pick up off amnesty and off the waivers, and this team is back to being a 58-60 win team, barring injury of course.
From the business and personal life standpoint, for LeBron James, as hard as it would seem that his star profile couldn’t get any higher, he actually has a long way to go to truly become an international media icon. In Los Angeles, LeBron can be in movies, TV shows, and have far more opportunities and endorsements that he could ever have dreamed of being in Cleveland or Miami. LeBron has actually only been involved in 2 major ad campaigns since he has been in Miami, one with McDonalds when he first arrived in Miami and the newest one with the Beats By Dre headphones.
Being in Los Angeles for LeBron will build his overall profile tenfold, all while having the championship pedigree to go along with Kobe Bryant and would be able to pass much of that attitude and drive over to Carmelo Anthony, who has yet to win a NBA Championship.
Speaking of ‘Melo, the leading scorer of the New York Knicks and perennial NBA All-Star, in many people’s eyes, can be considered a bit overhyped and a disappointment in his career so far, compared to the other top picks from the 2003 NBA Draft. Carmelo has the complete offensive game and is one of the most feared shooters in the NBA, but his defense and drive to win a title has been questioned by many, which I would like to say, is absolutely ridiculous.
Carmelo could ask for LeBron to possibly consider coming to New York City and playing for the Knicks, but the Knicks are not in the financial situation to keep the cast of talent they currently have, plus add a player of LeBron’s stature, unless many deals were made this upcoming season.
For Carmelo, a big factor will most likely be the social and entertainment standing of his wife, LaLa Anthony. It was a thought that LaLa wanted to go back to New York for more media and entertainment opportunities, which has happened with the popularity of her VH1 show, “LaLa’s Full Court Life.” Being in Los Angeles would most likely continue the popularity of that show, and would expand her and Carmelo’s profile into the Hollywood sector, especially with the level of spotlight that the Lakers bring every day during the NBA season.
Would this be a good fit for the Lakers franchise. In a word – Absolutely. The players are already used to playing around each other from the days on the USA Olympic Basketball Gold Medal Team from the London Olympics last summer, and it has been widely noted that LeBron and Carmelo have been friends since they were drafted in the ’03 NBA Draft.
With Kobe likely looking to pass Michael Jordan as having the most rings ever, I think that possible Lakers team could be as competitive and hungry to win as the 96 Chicago Bulls that won 72 games in the regular season, on their way to an NBA Title. Im not saying that the Big 3 2.0 would lead a team to 72 or more wins because that’s insane.
Players understand that its not about the regular season. The regular season is only about putting together enough of a good playoff seed for the NBA Playoffs. Kobe, LeBron and Carmelo could go 82-0 but if they do not win championships – multiple championships – the whole setup is a complete failure.
With all of that being said, sounds like next summer could be another monumental summer, and if the Lakers are anything like their city preaches, the show must go on.
Update – July 2014
Looks as though this idea, that we introduced over a year ago might just come to pass. Carmelo met with the Los Angeles Lakers organization on July 3rd & it was reported that LeBron’s agent has also met with the Lakers, along with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat & others.
Should the two come together in Los Angeles, especially with a team that can truly offer both players at what they both command & with LeBron wanting a max contract, the Lakers instantly become the favorite for the 2014-15 NBA Championship. The carrot that is also dangling out there is Pau Gasol, who is being courted by many teams around the league, but the look is that Gasol will end up signing for a lower price where the other big stars sign at in order to go for an NBA Championship next season.
While Anthony is doing the actual touring of each time & being wined & dined, LeBron is sitting at home & letting his agent do all of the heavy lifting, which is a far cry from his 2010 tour of the NBA.