Fans, media personnel and NBA front offices have been anxiously waiting for the much anticipated decisions from both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James regarding their respective free agency situations. Neither player has broken their now eleven-day silence, forcing a record number of refreshes on everybody’s Twitter feed. One moment sources indicate one thing, then all of the sudden a different source reports something totally opposite. The fact of the matter is that the Los Angeles Lakers‘ pursuit of Anthony must be given up.
Although there is no official word just yet, all signs are pointing toward Anthony re-signing a maximum contract with the New York Knicks. However, until that official word is broken, Anthony’s suitors, including the Lakers, will likely remain patient in putting off contract negotiations with the mid-tier free agents. Los Angeles is making a huge mistake in doing this by wasting valuable time in which they could be building a competitive team.
There is no doubt that Anthony is a superstar talent who is fully deserving of the time to mull perhaps his final maximum contract opportunity. It is just as important a life decision as it is a basketball decision, so it understandably requires some deep, deep thought. While Anthony is doing this critical thinking, the Lakers are potentially missing out on various free agents such as Luol Deng, Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson and Pau Gasol because they cannot afford to use up the available cap space. This is not only a mistake, but it’s something that may cost them a shot at luring the highly coveted Kevin Love next offseason when he hits the free agency market himself.
Speculation of Love to the Lakers has been present throughout the entirety of the former UCLA Bruins‘ career. As time has moved on and the losses have forced Love into a brick wall, the rumors continued to heat up reaching an all-time high last season. As expected, though, a rapid decline in the competitiveness of the Lakers has killed the Love rumors for the obvious reason of competing for a championship. Love has expressed his potential interest in playing in Los Angeles, but on the other hand he has remained adamant in his desire to play for a winning franchise. He has never made a playoff appearance over the span of his six-year career, something that has had an enormous impact on how he is perceived amongst his peers.
“Superstar” is a word often thrown around in the NBA today. Being dubbed a superstar is no simple feat. Only the truly elite players who have led their teams to championships, multiple playoff victories and have been leaders on and off the court are given the highly honorable label of a superstar. In today’s NBA there are a select few players who are worthy of this label including Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and LeBron James. Therefore, Love’s ultimate goal when deciding where to sign next offseason will be where he can achieve the goal of becoming a superstar.
In order for Love achieve this excellence in Los Angeles, the team must shift their focus from Anthony to building a solid core to fit Love’s style of play and maximize his skill set. To risk balking on an acquisition of one of the talented young players in this year’s free agency class simply is not worth desperately waiting for Anthony’s decision. It can seriously jeopardize the franchise’s future if he does in fact sign in a different city.