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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers: Potential Targets In Summer Of 2014

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Los Angeles Lakers: Potential Targets In Summer Of 2014

NBA
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

For many NBA teams the summer of 2014 can be franchise altering. Fans are hearing it could be a very exciting summer. Big names could move to different teams and they could even team up. In a star driven league, free agency is always entertaining

This upcoming free agent class has as much interest as it did when LeBron James announced his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers. In a time where super teams are the status quo, one can form while another falls. However, there are many players who have the ability to enter the free agent market. In their contracts they are able to waive the last year of their deals in order to enter the free agency to acquire a new deal. There are also players who are considered restricted free agents.

Restricted free agents are players that are free agents but their team has the right to match any offer they receive. It sounds like a done deal for teams, but would a small market team sacrifice a huge chunk of their payroll for one player? Think again; under the new CBA, cap penalties are severe. So severe that there are few teams capable of sustaining such penalties over long periods of time.

Regardless of whether they are restricted or not, the Los Angeles Lakers are ready to spend money. In 2014 they will have virtually nobody on their roster unless they decide to retain Steve Nash which is unlikely. The Lakers will be able to sign two max level players plus re-signing Kobe Bryant if he can take a massive pay cut.

Anything can happen between then and now, but the idea that the Lakers or any team could instantly become title contenders is very interesting. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next summer, but these five players will surely be in high demand.

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Carmelo Anthony SF/PF

NBA
Kirby-Lee-USA-TODAY

After forcing his way to New York, Carmelo Anthony will probably not return. The fact that the New York Knicks have yet to surround him with championship level talent has taken its toll. With his close ties to Kobe Bryant and his wife primarily working in Los Angeles, Anthony may find a home with the Lakers. Anthony’s best chance of winning a title would be to join forces with Bryant and the Lakers. All he needs is the support around him, and with a re-signed Bryant and a plethora of options, he could finally reach the mountain top.

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LeBron James SF/PF

NBA
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

When James signed with the Miami Heat, he received an early opt out clause within his contract allowing him to forfeit his final year and head into free agency. James wants to win, and he will pursue any angle in order to achieve that. Don’t be surprised if James ends up in a Lakers uniform since he doesn't show much loyalty to his previous teams. Being in the prime of his career when entering free agency, James will command a mega-deal and there are few teams that can offer that kind of money.

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Kobe Bryant SG

NBA
USA TODAY -- Mark J. Rebilas

If the Lakers wait to work out an agreement till the summer, the team should definitely re-sign him. Bryant will most likely take a massive pay cut in order for the Lakers to acquire the services of other big name talent. His $30 million salary should be pushed down to around $7-9 million which will give the Lakers the flexibility to sign other players. Bryant deserves to be a Laker for life, and regardless of whom the Lakers want to sign, Bryant will be a part of that team.

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Chris Bosh PF/C

NBA
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

With the constant pressure and criticism in Miami, Chris Bosh might need a change of scenery. Bosh will be in his prime if he does indeed to waive the last year in his contract. Bosh would receive a massive contract if he does, in fact, decide to leave. There are multiple options for Bosh, but none might be better than the Lakers. With the Lakers, Bosh will be able to thrive playing his own game instead of sacrificing his play for James and Dwyane Wade. If James decides to leave, Bosh will most likely follow suit.

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Paul George SG/SF

NBA
Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports Images

Now Paul George is an interesting situation. Being from California, George has some interest in returning back home. George is a budding superstar and the bright lights could do him wonders. Under the guidance of Bryant, George could become a force in the NBA. The only problem is that the Indiana Pacers can match any offer given to George. Will Larry Bird match a mega-deal for his free agent? For basketball reasons it would be a smart move, but for financial reasons it would be a mistake. Under the new CBA, tax penalties are massive and for a team like the Pacers, one player making that kind of salary could cripple their team going forward.