Months ago, the Los Angeles Lakers appeared to be the ideal situation for Carmelo Anthony this offseason the minute he hits free agency. However, with Mike D’Antoni as the head coach and the team in complete turmoil, Anthony’s name was completely wiped off the table as even a possibility.
Many things have changed for Los Angeles this past week, though, as D’Antoni has formally resigned his head coaching position. It is no secret Anthony and D’Antoni did not get along while with the New York Knicks, so this completely eliminated Anthony even entertaining the idea of joining the Lakers. Luckily, the spot is vacant and will likely remain that way for a few months — or at least until management can fully assess their options in free agency.
General manager Mitch Kupchak has remained set on saving the team’s cap space for the summer of 2015, but if the opportunity presents itself to grab Anthony this summer, it may not be such a bad idea. A hot commodity at the moment seems to be Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls, who has been involved in numerous rumors regarding the Lakers’ coaching spot. Yes he is under contract in Chicago, but this does not completely out rule a potential trade sending Thibodeau to Los Angeles.
Furthermore, if the Lakers are somehow able to complete a deal to acquire Thibodeau, pursuing Anthony makes much more sense. Anthony has made it clear that he is a big fan of Thibodeau, and that’s partly the reason why he is contemplating a possible deal with Chicago. Thibodeau’s defensive mind and ability to get the most out of his players would be perfect for the potential pairing of Kobe Bryant and Anthony. He may be the one person who can finally mold Anthony into a tenacious defender, which can ultimately catapult his game to the next level.
Additionally, the Lakers hold a very valuable draft pick which can be used to acquire a Julius Randle or Joel Embiid type player, adding frontcourt size and defensive ability. Of course, this entire scenario is a long shot, but if it ends up being a realistic scenario Los Angeles may be a contender much sooner than anticipated. There may even be ample room remaining to make another free agency signing, such as a Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza. One thing is for sure; Thibodeau has not shot down any speculation regarding the Lakers’ head coaching job.