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While waiting on Plan A to make up his mind, Lakers mulling Plan B options

Jul 11, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony is Plan A for the Lakers. They like to mention LeBron James but they were never in that chase. With Anthony, the Lakers are in the final three that he is torn between, along with New York and Chicago.

But if the Lakers strike out, what is Plan B?

Try to get a little better next year, but don’t take on any long term deals so you can still go big game hunting in the coming years. Dave McMenamin lays it out at ESPNLosAngeles.com.

The philosophy behind the Lakers’ Plan B is twofold: find a way to be competitive next season to get back on track after a disastrous 27-55 campaign in 2013-14 yet at the same time, protect their cap space flexibility to be able to pursue the biggest names in the summers of 2015 (Kevin Love), 2016 (Kevin Durant) and 2017 (Russell Westbrook).

“It’s a good class, but in terms of today who might be at the very top, maybe it’s not as large as it might be next year or the year after,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said on draft night when asked about the free-agency market this summer. “And keeping that in mind, we structured our salary knowing that, hey, you might not get two or three guys, but we have enough room to get at least one. And if we don’t have one and we choose to, we can go down the road and have flexibility next year and the year after that.”

For my money, the Lakers Plan B should be patience — do not make a max offer for someone like Chris Bosh or an oversized offer for Luol Deng. See if you can sign-and-trade Pau Gasol wherever he wants to go, do it. If you want to see if you can overpay a star for on a two-year deal go ahead (Lance Stephenson, Deng, give them more per year but a really short deal so you have cap space in 2016.

Sell Kobe Bryant to the fans and sponsors, he is the legendary player they want to see anyway, he can the distraction while you rebuild (and struggle a little). The Lakers should improve this season with a healthy Kobe and Julius Randle, but don’t make moves for this season that hurt the bigger long term goals.

  1. kingperk123 - Jul 11, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Carmelo Anthony stays with Knicks 5yrs 129million

  2. 88heatnation - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    The problem start and ends with Kobe. Taking nearly half the franchise salary at his age handicaps the roster and it clearly shows his selfishness, guy also known for not being the best locker room guy to teammates and that effects everything look at the Dwight situation. D12 rather play with Harden over Kobe when KB a proven winner , HOF and still high scorer at this age.

    • tsi431 - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      Handicaps? Let see, without Kobe they would still offer Carmello the exact same contract. Without Kobe’s contract they would still offer Lebron the exact same contract.

      There are no other free agents worth spending max dollars on. The Kobe contract has not handcuffed them at all. Same goes for next year.

      Now if the Lakers were able to sign either one of them two, then you have a point. Money would not be there for the mid tier free agents that would be needed to surround them.

      • therealhtj - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        So you’re completely discounting the notion that if Kobe took the Duncan deal and showed a willingness to acquiesce to an ascending star it wouldn’t make a difference?

        You think if the Lakers had two max slots instead of one it wouldn’t be a far more attractive to prospective free agents?

        Now what about if the Lakers had Dwight Howard instead of a hobbled Kobe along with all the cap space they need? You don’t see how that somehow improves the Lakers future a thousandfold?

        Take a step back from defending Kobe and think on this objectively. I know it’s painful, but if you try really hard, I think you’ll see the light.

  3. cbking05 - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Dwight wasn’t made to be a laker…please do not use him as an example.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Any person who won’t put up with Kobe’s nonsense wasn’t made to be a Laker then.

      • musician0785 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        Because he’s done so well without kobe’s “nonsense”

      • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        He’s done a lot better than when he had to deal with it.

      • musician0785 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        explain

      • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        When he was with Kobe the Lakers weren’t very good. He’s doing a lot better with the Rockets.

      • musician0785 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        When he was wit the Lakers he went to round 1 of the playoffs and lost……With the Rockets he went to round 1 of the playoffs and lost….so define “a lot better”

      • therealhtj - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        As a whole, yes, Dwight’s been remarkably better when not putting up with Kobe’s nonsense.

  4. saint1997 - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    Deng for 2 years, 24 mill. Make a run at Rondo/Love next offseason and sign and trade Pau to the Bulls for Taj Gibson? Do we think Taj can play the 5 next to Randle?

  5. fordmandalay - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    FORGET overpriced Carmelo; re-sign Pau, Nick Young (entertainment, flashy), sign Trevor Ariza, and make Lance Stephenson and Isaiah Thomas the FA targets. Kobe can give about 30 minutes a night, and with Randle as the young star this will be a good base for the Lakers to build with for the next decade.

    • loungefly74 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      i like the plan, ford!

  6. ufools - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Getting rid of Blake made them instantly better.

  7. daburgh1985 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    I would luv for LA to get Melo….But we have a better chance of competing right now if we went after Isaiah Thomas, Greg Monroe, Deng/Ariza and resigned Gasol

  8. antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    The Lakers only plan these days is to wait for the next big star. They don’t have a Plan B.

    • therealhtj - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      That’s a plan. Wasn’t exactly well executed. Not having cap room with which to fill out a roster around a star FA isn’t the best way to entice said FA to come to your team. Dedicated most of your resources to an aging, ornery, injured star without much left in the tank is inexcusable.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

        The Lakers are almost solely reliant on Hollywood. You will never hear about them rebuilding through the draft like the Spurs or Thunder. They think they can always wait for the moth to come to the flame.

        But society is changing a little bit and Hollywood doesn’t hold as much sway as it used to when it was really the only place you could go in this country to be a huge international celebrity.

      • therealhtj - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Maybe to an extent, but it’s certainly easier in Hollywood or NYC than a Cleveland or OKC.

        As far as lifestyle, amenities, and weather, Hollywood can’t be beat.

      • mazblast - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        therealhtj–I still remember the first time I flew into LAX, an afternoon arrival. Coming down through many layers of BROWN air, I kept telling myself, “People breathe this sh** and consider this place paradise???”

  9. psubeerman21 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Melo to LA would be an awful fit, unless they start playing with more basketballs.

  10. daburgh1985 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Wow so many Kobe haters….He had a major injury and all of a sudden he’s done….smh….I guess the fact he was still putting up big #s b4 the injury doesn’t factor into the equation….

    • harshedmellow - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      If these posts were searchable you could find me predicting a knee and/or back injury for him, when he was pushing the timeline to get back from the Achilles injury. At his age, injuries cascade into further injuries as the biomechanics go to poop from the FIRST injury. There’s just no buffer left, no resiliency. And that’s exactly what happened.

      So for this year I predict further knee issues, along with serious foot problems. And maybe a career-ender.

      I’m not hating on Kobe here; he’s just REALLY hit the wall, and it hits back. Hard.

  11. irvness21 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Rebuilding and Lakers do not belong in the same sentence. Randle is nice!!! They need their scouts to find a young guy who can just flat out play (every team in the league need this exact same thing…) Search the globe to find that one difference maker.

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