5 Biggest Stars Los Angeles Lakers Need To Court During 2014 Star-Studded Free Agency
Preview into the 2014 Los Angeles Lakers best Free-Agent Options
As the Los Angeles Lakers near the tipoff of the 2013-14 NBA season it looks to be a long one for all but the most delusional of Lakers fans, me being among them. This means it's never to early to take a look at the exciting Free-Agency beginning July 1 of next year.
The NBA has quickly become a league in which the only way to secure a Championship is by putting together teams of Stars i.e. LeBron James teaming up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach. Los Angeles is clearly among the biggest and best markets for NBA players and the Lakers will quickly look to accomplish putting a Star-Studded lineup together before next season, with plenty of salary cap space to do so. The Lakers have a long history of recruiting Stars to come play in the Hollywood lights including players like Shaquille O'Neal and ranging all the way back to the 1970's when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left the Milwaukee Bucks high and dry and headed to sunny Southern California to win more Championships.
This coming Free Agency has some of the biggest names in the NBA currently playing and some of the biggest names to go down in NBA history all looking for new contracts either with current teams or new ones. From SuperStars Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James to the likes of big men Greg Monroe, DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors. This is barely the tip of the iceberg as both of LBJ's South Beach counterparts in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh could be looking to leave the Miami Heat as well. The list goes on and on.
The important part being, who the Lakers will choose to pursue and who will be courted by the Lakers in return.
Let's take a look.
Kobe Bryant Isn't Leaving and Pau Gasol is an Afterthought
Kobe Bryant isn't leaving the Los Angeles Lakers. The question is whether or not he is willing to take a pay cut to stay with the team. He currently claims he is unwilling to, as he should. But as next year comes closer, he may change his tune if it helps put another ring on his aging fingers.
Pau Gasol on the other hand should be an afterthought for the Lakers this season. There is simply too much talent available to the Lakers to consider signing the old and getting older big man that refuses to take a pay cut. Gasol may change his tune and decide to make less money but if not he should quickly be forgotten by Lakers management. I personally would love to see Gasol return to the Memphis Grizzlies to play beside his brother Marc Gasol.
5. Luol Deng
Although Luol Deng doesn't make the top of the list, he's clearly one of the more plausible and exciting options for the Los Angeles Lakers. Deng will be 29 years old and an unrestricted free-agent as his contract expires with the Chicago Bulls after this coming season.
Deng is a mild mannered two-time All Star that has elite defensive skills, a beautiful outside shot and a tireless motor that just won't quit. These are three invaluable skill sets that will help the Lakers immensely as they lack a strong outside defender besides Kobe Bryant and Deng's mild manners won't cause friction in the locker room with the strong personality of the overbearing Black Mamba.
4. Greg Monroe
Greg Monroe stepped up in a big way for the Detroit Pistons last season, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds on barely 33 minutes a game. Then the Pistons went and picked up Josh Smith this offseason from the Atlanta Hawks. Add Smith to the youngster Andre "Man Child" Drummond and Monroe quickly becomes expendable for the Pistons during the 2014 free agency.
The Los Angeles Lakers would be smart to chase down this young, he's still only 24 years old, big man and throw money at him until he signs on the dotted line. Monroe is becoming the type of big man in the NBA that makes you quickly forget about the mess that is/was Dwight Howard.
3. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki would be a short-term approach to bringing another quick Championship to Hollywood before Kobe Bryant retires. Dirk will be 36 years old, just like Kobe, and would be reunited with Steve Nash whom he spent five years playing with in Dallas. Assuming Coach Mike D'Antoni is still ruining the Los Angeles Lakers as their head coach Dirk also fits nicely into his offense with his ability to stretch the floor.
Regardless of what Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban says about wanting Nowitzki to retired a Maverick, he certainly didn't bring in the pieces for that to be accomplished this season meaning Nowitzki may look to move on to another contender next year. If Nowtizki heads to Tinsletown, expect Pau Gasol to leave town; there aren't enough minutes for both of these big men to prosper unless Gasol is willing to spend another season playing Center.
2. Carmelo Anthony
Recently, Carmelo Anthony announced that he will be testing the Free Agent market after this season. Although the New York Knicks remain a strong candidate to resign him, 'Melo will certainly weigh out his other options, one of those clearly being heading to Southern California to don the Purple and Gold.
Although Kobe Bryant and Melo are close, there would be little room for both dominant ball hogs to shoot 50 shots a games leaving one, if not both, Super Stars(s) unhappy with their production. Melo would also have to learn to get along with Coach Mike D'Antoni, assuming he's still in Hollywood, which is something Melo was unable to accomplish in New York while Coach MDA was there.
As beautiful as it sounds to have Melo and Kobe standing side by side in the majestic Los Angeles Lakers' purple, it looks to be more of a headache than a beneficial situation to the Lakers end goal: Championships.
1. LeBron James
There is one major obstacle standing in the way of LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers and that is whether or not he is willing to help Kobe Bryant, a player LBJ is chasing in Championships count, get another ring.
LBJ took a pay cut to go from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat and he would have to do so yet again if he chose to move to Hollywood. If he did, he may be able to convince Kobe to take a pay cut as well, meaning the Lakers would have the salary cap space for another Super Star and would become favorites to win a Championship overnight.
Chances are LBJ either spends more time in South Beach or heads home to repair his image in Cleveland. Yet, due to their resources and history, the Lakers are always a contender to sign any big Free Agent.
Next year will clearly be an exciting one to be a fan of the Purple and Gold.