NBA Free Agency News And Rumors: Lakers Target Paul George, LeBron James And Carmelo Anthony In 2014 To Play With Kobe Bryant In His Final Years

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Jul 23, 2013 09:12 AM EDT
Miami Heat forward LeBron James
The Eastern Conference finals series between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers is expected to be a tough matchup between two strong teams and it should be intense after the two faced off last season in the playoffs and one of the biggest matchups in the series will be between LeBron James and Paul George."

We haven't even finished the 2013-14 NBA season and there's already a lot of speculation about who will end up where during the free agency period of the 2014 NBA offseason.

With a list full of All-Stars expected to be free agents in 2014, the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to nearly all as they've positioned themselves to make a strong push to signing a big named superstar to play along with their current superstar, Kobe Bryant, for the years to come.

Such big names linked to be on the Lakers radar include Indiana Pacers' Paul George, Miami Heat's LeBron James and New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony.

George will enter his final year of his $3.2 million rookie contract with the Pacers next season. He had a breakthrough season last year averaging career-highs of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists. During the playoffs he averaged 19.2 points while leading the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals, one victory shy from making an NBA Finals appearance.

George, who is a native of California and grew up a Kobe Bryant fan, said the speculation about his future will only continue to grow until he becomes a free agent in 2014.

Although the Pacers can't offer the same luxuries that the Lakers could, George says he's mostly excited about the future he'll have with the Pacers as he looks forward.

"I'm happy to be in Indiana," George said. "I'm happy to be where I am. If I was going to leave Indiana and come to the Lakers, it just wouldn't be a smart move for me. We got a great thing going right now."

James would be the most difficult signing especially after winning two championships with the Heat. If he manages to win a third or even come close, prying him from Pat Riley and the Heat franchise. Even if they fall short, Riley will be sure to add new talent around James to keep him in a Heat uniform.

As for Anthony the possibility is greater but still not as likely to occur.

As of now the Knicks are currently a mixture of one superstar in Anthony, two injury-prone big men in Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire, a promising young talent in Iman Shumpert and a foray of filler to complete their roster.

Although Anthony's desire is to remain with the Knicks, if they fall short of winning a title once again, then he may be tempted to leave in search of a greater opportunity.

However, according to GM Glen Grunwald keeping Anthony in the Big Apple is a priority. Grunwald said on Tuesday that he sees the Knicks as having a "long-term, successful partnership" with Anthony.

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