The Los Angeles Lakers have a ton of cap space coming off of the books in the next two years. This offseason, Dwight Howard is an unrestricted free agent and next offseason, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace will all be free to sign with other teams. As a matter of fact, the only player that is currently under contract for the 2014-15 season is Steve Nash.
This gives Los Angeles unlimited flexibility. It appears that the Lakers would like to bring back Howard, the question is whether the All-Star center wants to come back to Los Angeles. Gasol and World Peace are getting older, and the Lakers will probably let both walk after next season, if they do not trade one or both of them before then. Bryant, who is obviously an all-time great Laker, will almost surely retire as a member of the Lakers, whenever that may be. If he does sign another contract, I am sure that it will be at a much lesser amount than his current deal. So, if Howard returns, Gasol and World Peace sign to other teams and Bryant comes back at a reduced salary, there is a ton of cap space available for a big splash in free agency during the summer of 2014. Coincidentally, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James can opt out of his contract after next season.
As we all know, James is on top of the NBA world right now. He has won back-to-back league MVPs, NBA championships and NBA Finals MVPs. There is no denying that James is the best player in the NBA. The versatility that James shows on a basketball court is simply amazing. Defensively, he is a lock-down defender and incredible shot-blocker. On offense, James is the ultimate play-maker, having the uncanny ability to create for himself and others. Even though the Heat have won the NBA championship two of the three years that James has been in Miami, they are still a team with many flaws. Dwyane Wade is on the last legs of his career. Yes, he was incredible for the last few games of The Finals, but that did not make me completely forget the rest of the playoffs, where he was half of the player that he used to be. Chris Bosh has turned in to simply a jump-shooter. He has little to no offensive post game and is not strong enough to battle with NBA big men down low defensively. The Heat have no inside presence or stable point guard play. James’ incredible play has hidden the flaws of this Miami team for two years now.
After next season, James will surely find a better place to play if he wishes to move on from Miami. The Lakers make perfect sense to me. They are one of the most historic franchises in NBA history. Going down as a Laker legend means much more than a Heat legend. Also, everybody loves Los Angeles. Obviously, Miami is great, but if there is any other city that can live up to the nightlife of South Beach, it is Los Angeles. Not to mention, it will set up James for careers outside of basketball, most notably acting, if he is interested in that. Most importantly, if you add James to a Lakers roster with Nash, Howard and Bryant, they instantly become the best team in the league. If LeBron wants to chase Michael Jordan’s six NBA titles and get in the conversation as the greatest player in league history, Los Angeles is the place for him.