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Kobe Bryant flies back to Los Angeles for Carmelo Anthony’s Lakers visit

Jul 3, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

BASKET-US-LAKERS-KNICKS BASKET-US-LAKERS-KNICKS

Carmelo Anthony‘s free agent tour – which has already hit Chicago, Houston and Dallas – continues to Los Angeles today.

The Lakers can offer a max contract, a glamorous city and a proud tradition of winning.

And, for better or worse, Kobe Bryant.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Los Angeles Lakers superstar guard Kobe Bryant flew in late Wednesday night from a European vacation so he could attend and play a key part in the team’s pitch to free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony on Thursday, sources with knowledge of the situation said.

Sources indicate the Lakers are enamored with his game and believe he would complement Bryant well. The Lakers hope to pair the two wings with center Pau Gasol, whom they met with on the first day of free agency

the Lakers can pay Gasol more than any other team, and his fondness for the city and playing with Bryant should not be discounted. If the team can add to its roster with Anthony, sources said, Gasol would be far more inclined to re-sign with the Lakers.

Melo and Kobe are friends, so Kobe might actually be a plus here unlike with other free agents.

I’m just not sure Kobe is a total positive selling point. He’s 35 and hasn’t shown he can stay healthy. He’s still inclined to dominate the ball more than he should. And his massive contract extension will limit the Lakers’ ability to upgrade further.

Los Angeles has Pau Gasol’s bird rights, so keeping him is a little easier, but adding new pieces going forward won’t be so simple. And given Gasol’s prominent suitors – Heat, Spurs, Thunder and Bulls – retaining him is no cakewalk, even if Melo joins the fold.

Kobe, Melo and Gasol might be a solid team next year – though aging leaves potential for a massive 2012-13-level disappointment – and the Lakers would probably be thrilled with that trio. I doubt they’re willing to tank hard enough to keep their 2015 draft pick, which goes to the Suns unless it falls in the top five. At that point, nearly any steps toward immediate winning are worthwhile. The Lakers need to draw fans and sell their high-priced tickets.

But what’s in it for Melo, who could earn far more with the Knicks? Los Angeles has an advantage over many markets, but it’s not bigger than New York. And neither team faces a clear road to title contention.

If the Lakers have an edge, it’s Kobe, which is why he’s showing up today.

  1. 88heatnation - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Not a bad lineup of Nash, Kobe, Melo, Randle and Gasol the only problem is just one of those guys actually play’s defense

    • unxpexted1 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:08 AM

      Honestly, barring health that is an above average NBA lineup, and a playoff team in the West.

      I think people don’t realize how good melo could be if just SOME of the pressure is taken off of him. Say what you want about Kobe but he can score, even at this age. His 3rd game back off an acl he dropped a very efficient 20. That’s all Melo needs. Add that with Pau and you have a lil something.

      • therealhtj - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        Considering there’s no one on that list who plays defense, and no, Kobe was no longer is a defensive force even before his achilles blew up, I don’t understand who you’re referring to. Randle can’t be projected as a NBA-ready defender just yet.

        Nash may be good for 20 or so games if they don’t stretch him, which if they want to offer Pau anything more than the MLE, they’ll have to. I wouldn’t count on Nash to give the Lakers anything next year. The best thing he could do for them is take a buyout, but as he very famously said in that crocodile tear laced Grantland piece: “I want the money.”

        Pau would have to be renounced first to give Melo a 4 year max. I could see Melo rolling the dice on a team that can pay him max for 4 years with an opt out after 3 like Dwight did. I don’t see him giving up both money and years like Chicago is reportedly hoping he’ll do.

      • casualcommenter - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        “Honestly, barring health that is an above average NBA lineup, and a playoff team in the West.”

        Serious question – which playoff team in the West would you project that the Lakers replace with that lineup of…
        Nash coming off two injury-plagued seasons.
        Kobe coming off two serious leg injuries.
        Randle as an unproven rookie.
        Gasol coming off two injury-plagued seasons.

        Plus Melo, coming off a career best year?

      • unxpexted1 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        I think the team that they replace is Memphis or Dallas, who both have taken a step back depending on how their free agency goes.

        And its shown that in the west you don’t need defense to GET to the playoffs. TO win a championship yes, but we’ve seen atrocious defenses go to the playoffs and win series in years past.

        Nash is obviously the biggest liabillity. I’m a Kendall Marshall fan myself but unsure what we are going to do with him.

        Even if we aren’t great defensively at least we’ll have some size at pretty much every position to at least be formidable defensively if the proper scheme is in place.

    • smoothaswilkes - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      Is that a riddle? Which one of those guys would actually play defense?

      That lineup might sell tickets but it would be terrible for the long term. They’d probably be an 8 seed and lose all chance of getting back their draft picks from the Suns next season. That and I’m not sure you can count on the health for 3 of those guys and by signing Melo and Gasol there’s no room left over for depth.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        yep

        Kobe IS an all time great and he was a great defender for a long time, but that part of his game has slowed down…

        1st team all defense 2006 to 2011

        down to 2nd team all defense in 2012

        in 2013 – not on any all defensive team, although it was a good offensive season for him.

        Again, Kobe is an all time great, but now at his age, the injuries… well he isn’t a defensive force anymore.

        Father Time even caught MJ…

        There is NO defense on the team you mentioned… well, don’t know about the kid just drafted…

      • unxpexted1 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        It’s not terrible long term. Is Melo really a bad 4 or 5 year option. Kobe is only around for 2, Nahs is gone next year, and I can’t imagine pau signing for more than two years. Its a decent team short term, we don’t have the picks to rebuild in the draft. In two years we could have Melo and cap space, while still putting a good product on the floor.

    • enigma2742 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      GOOD ENOUGH TO BE THE 7TH SEED IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE

  2. luz56 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Problem with that lineup is nobody is healthy other than FA Gasol…if they weren’t known as the LALakers I would swear they were the Bucks , Cavs or 76ers….what a disaster

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      luz

      ya nailed it…

      folks think they’re going to make the playoffs this year… don’t think so…

  3. campcouch - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Waste of your vacation bro.

  4. ravenswhat - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    I could see melo and Lebron having an arrangement here. Melo signs with lakers. Lebron signs one year deal with Miami. Kobe plays out next year and then retires with Lebron then signing with the lakers.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:08 AM

      Or James can sign a one year deal with Miami and go to New York next summer.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        Mr. Wright…

        I’ve been saying this too…

        Will it happen? Not likely, but the odds aren’t zero for this…

        The Knicks, especially if Melo leaves, will have all kinds of cap space next summer.

        It would be NYC and that attracts players.

        Players would want to play with LBJ wherever he was and now it would be NYC and LBJ… plus Phil.

        Phil and LBJ, with lots of cap space and it being NYC plus having Lebron there would be able to get a couple of really good sidekicks for them like the 2010 versions of what he had with the HEAT, but doesn’t have there now…

        Again, odds aren’t great for this but everything is lined up for it as there would be tons of cap space without Melo taking like $24 million of it to play little to no D and to shoot a low percentage from the field…

        Whether Lebron does this or not, he’s at least thought about it and is thinking about it…

    • casualcommenter - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:28 AM

      …Why would Kobe retire a year early with a $23 million payday awaiting him if he played a second season?

      His two year contract extension starts this year, and I can’t imagine him reacting well to the Lakers suggesting in 2015, “Kobe, please retire so that way we don’t have to pay you the money you’re due and so LeBron James can replace you as our franchise centerpiece.”

      I don’t think anybody who has followed Kobe’s career, fan or “hater,” would argue that sounds like something Kobe would do…

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        $23 million is a lot for anyone, even Kobe…

        But, for his career both on and off the court, he’s made about a half a Billion dollars…

        just maybe $23 million doesn’t mean as much to him as another year of being on a sucky team…

        I mean, the Lakers are like 18 games under .500 the past two seasons… and this coming season doesn’t look to be too good and that will make three crappy seasons in a row…

        So, going into that 2nd yr of his contract, when he realizes that Princeton or The College of Charleston has a better chance of winning the NBA Finals than the Lakers do, he might just move along…

      • wiltchamberlainthethird - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        “just maybe $23 million doesn’t mean as much to him”……..LMAO okay bruh.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        Well, Kobe did spend $4 million on just ONE ring for Vanessa several years back after he visited the Rocky Mountains…

        So if he’ll spend that much on a ring…

  5. saint1997 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Having Randle makes Lakers discussions so much more interesting. His potential makes it almost seem as if the Lakers have 2 stars in place, not an aging legend and an unproven rookie

  6. Andee - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    I think it’s a bit unfair to say Kobe can’t stay healthy if you’re considering his entire body of work instead of a lost season. But, my issue is Kobe and Melo are both volume scorers who do not play defense. What gives in this scenario?

    I am really hoping they’re able to retain Pau. The fact that all of the outside teams chasing him are bonafide title contenders is worrisome.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      Kobe and Melo don’t play defense?

      Everything you said thereafter is discounted.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        Melo can’t spell “D” if you spot him the D…

        Kobe now… he is an all time great and was a great defender for a long time.

        1st team all defense 2006 – 2011

        2nd team all defense in 2012

        didn’t make either in 2013

        didn’t play last season 2014

        Kobe is older, coming off of injuries and he wont’ be the defensive force he was all those seasons ago, but he still plays defense and he can spell “D” without us having to spot him the D.

  7. musician0785 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Just waiting for sportsfan18 to write some long winded essay about how the Lakers overpaid kobe and no one wants to play for the Lakers and blah blah blah….Look I took your essay and dwindled down to one sentence…..soooo….no need for you to post

    • therealhtj - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      Actually he’ll pray Melo signs with the Lakers so the Bulls can put together a deal for Love that Minneapolis never takes.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        @therealhth

        smart man…

        course I’ve said that if Melo doesn’t stay with the Knicks, I HOPE he goes to the Lakers… like 80 times on here the past several months…

        glad ya’ll can read and remember…

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      He can have a twofer here… he can also rail on how inefficient Melo is.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:03 PM

        well, Melo did have a pretty good offensive season this past year…

        he actually moved himself up from OUTSIDE of the top 200 all the way to 194th best in the NBA for true shooting percentage…

        he should be PROUD of that…

        of course I expect him to brick his way back north of 200 this coming season…

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        here it is for ya’ll

        left column and then scroll WAY down to # 194 and you’ll find Melo’s name…

        http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/ts_pct_career.html

    • billtetley53 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      Pissy eyes is back! Ugh, nobody missed you and your crying. Why donr you stay away for good and take Vanessa Monetti with you. 2 biggest babies on the site.

      On a side note, I see the delusion is in full swing again amongst the laker faithful. Its as sure as death and taxes.

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        I’d say it’s something in the water but they don’t have any!

      • musician0785 - Jul 3, 2014 at 5:51 PM

        how your nets holding up 5 coaches in 5 years? lmaooooo

  8. money2long - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Lebron n Melo should find a way to play together if one of them does not choose Houston.
    In my humble opinion of course.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      Be careful what you wish for. You might explode a lot of hater’s heads. Not that there would be anything wrong with that.

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        Should read haters’; grammar pig cops keep eating your donuts!

  9. harshedmellow - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Just get out the hot tub time machine, and the lineup of Kobe, Nash, and Gasol is AWESOME!

    But in 2014, that lineup is flat wore out.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Yep. Not really sure how anybody could say that’s a powerful supporting cast for Melo.

      Gasol has been dealing with injuries the past 2 years. While he had a nice season on offense this past year, he was terrible defensively, and since he’s turning 34 years old in 3 days, he’s not going to regain any lost athleticism.
      Nash has been dealing with injuries the past 2 years that have left him as a shell of his former self. If you thought his defense was poor before these injuries, just wait until he’s asked to chase around Westbrook and Lillard as a 40-year old coming off injuries including a nerve injury in his leg.
      Lastly, we have no idea how Kobe is going to look coming off a missed season. He’s turning 36 years old this year, and that’s the age where even the greatest players begin slowing down.

  10. andiroid71 - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Glamourous city? People perhaps, but LA. would have to be one of the ugliest cities I’ve ever been to…..in the world. Sprawling, polluted, but probably not where Melo would live…

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