The Los Angeles Lakers are quickly emerging as a potential landing spot for free-agent superstar Carmelo Anthony. They have plenty of cap space to make him the maximum offer and are located in a big market. Kobe Bryant has made it known that he would like to play with Anthony, and has even joined in on the recruiting efforts to bring him to Los Angeles. While Anthony is one of the top players in the league, signing him to such a big deal this late in his career would represent a huge risk for the organization.
With Anthony and Bryant on the roster, the Lakers will have committed big money to two ball-dominant players who are over the age of 30. It remains to be seen whether the two players could co-exist on an NBA team, especially since they will have less money to spend on other players. If both players are able to understand their roles with the new coach, then it might work, but that is a big if.
Defensively is where the real challenge would be. The team might be able to get away with a lack of effort in the regular season, but come playoff time, Anthony and Bryant do not represent the quickest of perimeter players to guard some of the better scorers in the league. Neither would be able to provide the lockdown defense needed to get big stops down the stretch, and might even have to be hidden in defensive schemes. Without an elite rim protector, games could quickly get away from the Lakers.
While signing Anthony would bring a lot of excitement and new energy to the team, it would be a big risk for the organization. They would have to truly believe that Anthony is committed to winning and playing on both sides of the court. The entertainment value would be there, as the team would have quality scorers, but with so little money left, the Lakers would have to find players willing to take a pay cut to play in Los Angeles. And looking at Anthony and Bryant’s recent history of dominating the ball and lack of elite defense, it just might not be worth it.