Possibly the hottest commodity on the upcoming free agent market will be Carmelo Anthony, who opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks earlier today. Potential landing spots for the star forward include the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls, both of whom will need to clear cap space in order to acquire Anthony. Houston will need to dump Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, while Chicago will need to dump Carlos Boozer to have any shot at signing Anthony when July 1 hits. In come the Los Angeles Lakers, a potential landing spot for any of the previously mentioned players, under one condition: draft picks.
It is no secret Los Angeles would prefer to acquire additional draft picks to form something of a competent, cheap team. Anthony may indirectly grant the Lakers’ wishes of getting these picks if he decides to sign in either Chicago or Houston. No team in the league will voluntarily accept salary dumps in order to aid in the construction of a championship contender. It is simply unrealistic. Therefore, if the Bulls and Rockets plan on dumping their respective massive contracts, draft picks must be the great equalizer to entice other franchises,
Chicago possesses three picks this year at Nos. 16, 19 and 49. Houston only has two later picks at Nos. 25 and 42. So Los Angeles would likely prefer to make a deal with Chicago solely based on the potential acquisition of at least one more top 20 pick. Several impactful prospects will be available in the late teens and even the mid-late twenties. If it only meant absorbing the $15 million contract of Asik or near $17 million salary of Boozer, Los Angeles would be foolish not to make a deal happen. Both Boozer and Asik are expiring next summer, so it retains the flexibility while also allowing the Lakers to add a solid young rotational player.