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Even if they could, should the Lakers go after ‘Melo to pair with Kobe, Nash? No.

Oct 17, 2013, 7:15 PM EDT

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

We start this exercise in the hypothetical with this grounded in reality caveat — very few people around the league think Carmelo Anthony is leaving New York next summer as a free agent. Yes, he certainly will opt out of his current deal as he told the New York Observer, and anything can happen in a year, but the conventional wisdom around league front offices is he stays put. He worked too hard to get to NYC and would leave a guaranteed year and $30 million on the table to bolt.

That said, if he leaves, the Lakers are the most likely landing spot. Kobe and Anthony are buddies, he lives there in the off-season, his wife loves it there, the Lakers have cap space… we can go on if you want.

Yes, Dallas is a potential landing spot as are a bunch of other teams with cap space (Charlotte, Philadelphia, Orlando and so on). Plus other teams with trade chips could try to get in the mix (Greg Monroe in Detroit?). But the Lakers are the team most people point to when they talk about ‘Melo leaving the Big Apple.

To me, the bigger question is: Would that really a smart idea for the Lakers?

No, not really.

Not if they are trying to build a title contender.

First, it’s going to take a salary cap high wire act to get Anthony to the Lakers. While it well documented the Lakers only have $12 million on the books next season ($9.7 million of that belonging to Steve Nash) they have massive cap holds for Kobe Bryant ($32 million) and Pau Gasol ($20.2 million). (This assumes the Lakers do not trade Gasol mid-season.) There are also cap holds for Steve Blake, Jordan Hill and others the Lakers might renounce.

The only way for the Lakers to use all that cap space to bring in Anthony is to either renounce the rights to Kobe or Gasol, or get one of them to take a reduced contract and let the other one walk. That second option is the more likely scenario — the Lakers aren’t going to let Kobe go but they will ask him to take a Kevin Garnett/Tim Duncan pay cut down to the $10 million range (and despite his earlier comments I expect he will). If that happens the Lakers can sign ‘Melo to a max deal, pair him with Kobe and Nash.

Again, there are a host of ways it could go down but that is the most likely scenario….

And it’s a  terrible one if the Lakers are chasing a ring.

Look at what LA would have: The Lakers would start the 2014-15 season with 30-year-old Anthony, 36-year-old Kobe Bryant and 40-year-old Nash surrounded by a bunch of role players. The best part is all of them are likely running Mike D’Antoni’s system that Anthony chaffed against in New York.

Even if they change systems it wouldn’t matter. The Lakers would have two unconscious gunners who love (and make a fair amount of) bad shots, plus they would be a defensive mess. Their best players would be old, injury prone and in a deep West this roster likely is a middle of the pack seed that would be one-and-done. Even if they keep Gasol somehow it doesn’t change the dynamic. Then in a few years they could try to rebuild around Anthony and his massive contract as his skills are deteriorating.

How would this seem like a good plan to anyone?

The Lakers can take a meeting with Anthony next summer, but he is a terrible rebuilding plan. They can find a better one.

  1. nflcinbengals - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Love these guys, after D.Rose of course!

    • asimonetti88 - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      I enjoy watching Melo play, he’s very entertaining. It’s not necessarily a winning style of basketball, but it’s fun to watch.

      • sportsfan18 - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Melo is good but he is overrated. To make around $23 million or so he should be a great two way player. He isn’t even good on defense let alone great.

        As far as offense is concerned, he’s not efficient. He scores a lot because he shoots a lot.

  2. detectivejimmymcnulty - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Terrible pairing. Neither has interest in defense and both are volume scorers. Pairing them by name value is great but pairing them on the court would be a terrible combination.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      If Kobe played like Team USA Kobe then it could work. I think Anthony is best used as just a designated scorer in a tightly run system – you can’t put too much on his plate. It would be hard for Kobe to give up his spot as the team’s leading shooter, but I think he might if it was to somebody he respected like Melo and if Kobe somehow came to grips with his age and circumstance (his achilles might force his hand there).

  3. JHathwell - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    As bad of an idea as it is, what would be a better one? Fact is, little Jimmy has completely painted them into a corner. Anthony is bad idea and LeBron is a pipe dream. Their best and most realistic prospect just re-upped in Indiana.

    The Lakers best opportunity for a rebuild at this point in in this years’ draft an involves them tanking, which at this point isn’t happening.

    otherwise, they’ll end up spending next years’ cap room on a couple of the guys who fit the D’ Antoni system (monroe, bledsoe, favors, hayward, parsons among them) and hope for 45-50 wins going forward.

    basically, they are in the same shape the Mavs are: a Free Agent afterthought built around an over-the-hiill superstar.

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      Calling the Lakers a freeagent afterthought is ludicrous. Dallas is not L.A.

      • JHathwell - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        For now, they are in terms of getting a difference maker, which is to say there is only one difference maker and he isn’t coming here. Dallas has whiffed badly the last two summers, leaving them with a team that might make the playoffs but won’t make any noise.

        As of right now, the Lakers are in the exact same boat.

      • kinggw - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        It’s the truth. Lakers fans seem to believe that they are going to be great again, just because they landed two franchise players nearly twenty years ago, the last time they were in a similar situation. It’s not 96′. Shaq isn’t walking through that door. 18 year old Kobe Bryant isn’t coming through that door. The Lakers aren’t able to poach talent the way they used to. Contrary to popular belief, its going to take more than a few offseasons for the Lake Show to become elite again.

      • detectivejimmymcnulty - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        I agree with points made by both of you but L.A. will always be a desirable destination because of their history and location.

      • asimonetti88 - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        “just because they landed two franchise players nearly twenty years ago, the last time they were in a similar situation. It’s not 96′.”

        You’re right. The Lakers were in much worse shape in 96. No one thought they would be able to recover from losing Magic Johnson, one of the greatest players of all time.

  4. eugenesaxe1 - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    Kobe: Give me the ball!
    Anthony: Give me the ball!
    Nash: …

    • kb2408 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      Kobe’s in his 18th season and is the most accomplished player in the league. He’s played on Olympic teams and taken on whatever role the team needed, in the process proving that when he’s playing with other talented players he doesn’t have to lead the team in shots or points. With all that being said, there are still numbskulls that just dont get it.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        This is how Lakers fans apologize for the league’s most notorious historical ball hog – and they even have the audacity to say that other’s “just don’t get it.” The absurdity of that!

        As far as “most accomplished player in the league”:

        4 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs in 10 years > 1 MVP, 2 Finals MVPs in 17 years

      • yourverystupid - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        this guy, right here, anistrafordian, yeah him, he need to stfu…dont even try to compare kobe to lebron…lebron got to the finals because he faced weak teams in the mavs (barely anyone besides dirk and tyson along with a myriad of three point specialists), thunder (extremely young and inexperienced, best player being only 23-24 at the time), and spurs (old as hell, plus they BARELY beat them and lebron didnt do anything for those last wins). lik its not even just me being a fan…its just disrespectful…lik kobe is a top 3 player because other players lik jordan and magic say he is and im prty sure they know more about the game than u…he had an 81 point game, a three-peat, the three point record, fourth all time scoring (gonna be third), legit has EVERY move jordan has mastered and altered (who if im not mistaken is the GOAT)…all lebron has is athleticism…i will say hes the best player in the nba right now but that is only cuz he has barely any competition, if he played in the 90s or even the early 2000s, his team wouldnt even reach top 5 in his conference…so hav some respect for kobe, because lik it or not, hes the only one who is even close to jordan….gmoney out

      • spthegr8 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        You forgot 5 times champ to a 2 time champ…….JUST SAYING!!!!

      • detectivejimmymcnulty - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        How funny is it that someone would make the name “yourverystupid?” That made me laugh so hard.

      • profoundtoo - Oct 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        But he feels he owns the Lakers. He may take fewer shots one or maybe three games, but eventually he’ll be the same old aggressive, ball hog he’s always been.

      • sportsfan18 - Oct 20, 2013 at 6:46 AM


        I’m NOT a Kobe OR an LBJ fan. I’m older and I’m an MJ fan.

        But when comparing Kobe to LeBron, please know that Kobe has NEVER shot a true 47% from the field for even one NBA season. He’s had some seasons that ROUND to 47%.

        Seven NBA seasons ago, LBJ shot “only” 47% from the field. He then proceeded to INCREASE his FG% for the next 6 consecutive seasons to an absurd .565% this past season.

        LBJ hasn’t played as long as Kobe but he’s well on his way to eclipsing Kobe at this point in his career as he’s passed him in some respects already.

        This coming season, LBJ will pass MJ and take over the all time highest PER in the league.

        PER takes into account the following things mind you…

        PER takes into account positive accomplishments, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, and negative ones, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. The formula adds positive stats and subtracts negative ones through a statistical point value system. The rating for each player is then adjusted to a per-minute basis so that, for example, substitutes can be compared with starters in playing time debates. It is also adjusted for the team’s pace. In the end, one number sums up the players’ statistical accomplishments for that season.

        So, this stat sorta covers… well you know… basketball and what a player does on the court. It evens out how many min’s guys play, it evens out pace that diff teams play, it incorporates things like turnovers, missed shots in addition to just offensive stats etc…

        LeBron has led the league for the past 6 consecutive seasons in PER.

        Kobe has NEVER led the league in PER for even one season.

        Kobe HAS led the league in most field goals attempted for the past 3 seasons and for 6 of the last 8 seasons being the ball hog he is and he doesn’t put the ball through the basket anywhere near as often as LeBron.

        Beginning in LeBron’s 2nd season until now, the past 9 NBA seasons, Kobe has NEVER had a FG% for a season as high even once in his career as LBJ has had in the past 9 seasons.

        Kobe for his career has averaged only 4.7 assists per 36 min’s of court time. Yes, he’s a shooting guard.

        LBJ has averaged 6.3 assists per 36 min’s of court time in his career.

        LBJ averages more rebounds too.

        Oh, and to scoring. Per 36 min’s of court time, Kobe scores 25.1 points and LBJ scores 25.0 points while dishing out more assists and grabbing more boards.

        Yes, one may compare Kobe to LBJ but Kobe only wins due to longevity in the league right now. LBJ has passed him in many respects and will continue to put distance between himself and Kobe as the yrs pass by…

  5. JHathwell - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    In other words, the Lakers with Anthony would be the same as the Knicks with Anthony: A flawed team that can do know better than 50 wins and a second round playoff exit.

  6. kb2408 - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    The LAKERS should not go after Melo to be the face of the franchise after Kobe retires. He’s a very good “scorer”, arguably the best in the world, but he is not the type of player you build a championship team around. Other than score, what else is Melo going to give? Defense? No. Leadership? Not enough to lead a championship team. Play making? Not really.

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      Melo’s defense is better than his playmaking and that’s saying something. Worse is Melo has the skills to be very good at both.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      Melo last year was not much different than Kobe of the last 6 years. Very similar players when it comes to overall production.

  7. cruzan80 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Pointless article. The star free agent who will most likely ditch his team after next season is Lebron anyway.

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      I’m not sure how it’s pointless considering Melo just said he wanted to be a freeagent and L.A. makes the most sense. A pointless article would be “Should team X considering adding Lebron to pair with players Y and Z.” Any team that has a chance would want Lebron.

  8. m4a188 - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    40 shots between the two of them, what could go wrong?

  9. yousuxxors - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Lakers went all in on Howard and lost. they gonna have some bad years before they are contenders again. I don’t think melo leaves the Knicks. I think melo is using that as a tool to get the players he wants when all their cap space is up kind of like what CP3 did. kobe is still great but he can’t carry a team to the finals anymore.

    • Anoesis - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      “Lakers went all in on Howard and lost.”

      The Lakers rented Howard as a tryout for a year and he chose to leave. That experiment cost the Lakers Andrew Bynum, which in retrospect was no loss at all, and a draft pick. So what exactly does “all in” mean?

      Lots of potential free agents use the threat of leaving to get what they want. Melo is no different there. What Howard did in using the Lakers to escape Orlando will likely be what he is remembered for in the foreseeable future.

      • JHathwell - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:58 PM

        Well, if you count the addition of Nash, the lakers gave away several first round picks.

      • Anoesis - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:32 PM

        Acquiring Nash was a completely independent deal from Howard. Nash was considered expendable by Phoenix due to rebuilding. Did the Lakers overpay for Nash? Likely. One draft pick for Howard was the only risk and Howard turned out to not be worth that.

      • asimonetti88 - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        Anoesis… shhh… you’re ruining that whole Lakers are doomed narrative with your silly logic.

    • shivarising - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:05 AM

      Kobe could never “carry a team to the finals.” Neither could Jordan. Neither could any player ever. This is such a juvenile statement. Kobe’s best seasons, ’06/’07, the Lakers didn’t get out of the first round.

      Superstar players without the proper teams/coaches/GMs have careers like Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady…

  10. abchome - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    I don’t mind they get Melo to become a regular lower seed and playoffs first rounder for the next 5 years.

  11. fearthehoody - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    LA is Clipp City!! Lakers are JV team so who cares?

    • Anoesis - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:34 PM

      Yes, you’ve said the same thing repeatedly. But PBT thanks you for clicking on another Laker post so they can bring you even more. Idiot.

  12. davincizsp - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Melo is a good player but I don’t think he will win a championship during his career. Just an overrated scorer.

  13. urboial - Oct 18, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    It won’t work.. Kobe don’t share

  14. jbeagles23 - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    The lakers at this point aren’t even relevant.

    • Anoesis - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      Which is why articles are written about them that get dozens of comments. Thanks for clearing that up. Not.

  15. gmsingh123 - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    ‘Melo would be a huge improvement after the Dwight Howard fiasco.

  16. MyTeamsAllStink - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    dr buss doesn’t own the Lakers anymore,his dimwit son does.The Lakers aren’t the attractive location anymore.Why would Melo leave New York where he’s the main star?And why would Lebron leave Miami which is just like LA but not as dirty?Last thing both those two need is playing second fiddle to an aging broken down Kobe.I don’t hate the Lakers but I’m not a Jim Buss supporter he’s hurt this team more than helped it

  17. tannethrill - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    The only logical move for the Lakers is to trade Kobe. It’s the only way they can possibly tank and recoup assets.

    Too bad egos will keep him from going to the Clippers. Seems like it would be a nice fit.

  18. pistolpete0903 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I know this is free country and you are allowed to imagine and all.
    But seriously, Melo w/Kobe and Nash???!!! Really?

  19. emdawt - Oct 18, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    The best thing for the Lakers to do is wait. The only player they can get this summer is Rudy Gay. Wait until the summer of 2015 and pair Rondo with Kevin Love.

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