The Los Angeles Lakers have established that their long-term plans include rebuilding in the 2014 draft and making a run at marquee free agents in 2015. Kobe Bryant is under contract for two more years and the team plans on letting Steve Nash determine his future which means the point guard could be around at least one more season. So while a plan may be in place, one free agent could throw everything off.
According to Bleacher Report, the Lakers' plans go out the window entirely if LeBron James expresses any interest in signing with the team. The Miami Heat star has the chance to opt out of his current contract and sign elsewhere in free agency. While the Lakers are assumed as a real long-shot for James, there is hope that the forward shows at least a little desire to head West. If not, the Lakers will wait and pursue Kevin Love instead, not Carmelo Anthony.
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James is just one piece of the puzzle according to Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report. The rest of the team's future is in the hands of Nash. The point guard confirmed to media on Tuesday that he believes the Lakers are going to let him play out his contract. He has said that if he did not return to Los Angeles for one more season he would retire but the Lakers are committed to his deal.
Getting rid of Nash now would certainly be ideal. The team could use the stretch provision and wipe the point guard's $9.7 million off the books completely and spend money now instead of waiting for later. Keeping Nash means the team will build around him and Bryant from one more season before acquiring marquee names to fill the spots.
This hurts any shot Anthony had at joining up with the Lakers this summer. Keeping Nash means the team will likely not have enough salary cap space to sign Anthony and others to repair the roster. According to Ding, the Lakers will only change their plans for James and no one else. So even if Anthony admits interest in Los Angeles, the team is not returning the gesture.
Los Angeles is ready to put all of their eggs in 2015. With players like Love, Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol set to hit the market, the Lakers could sign at least two of them. Anthony better start looking elsewhere because it appears he is oddly the man looking in from the outside when it comes to the Lakers.