Lakers keep carving cap space for star

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – The Los Angeles Lakers continue to operate with the belief that LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony could don the purple-and-gold next season.

Despite the optimism out of Miami brought about by Saturday’s news that Dwyane Wade and (possibly) Chris Bosh are joining James in opting out of the final two years of their contracts, seemingly for the purpose of re-signing with the Heat at lower annual salaries, the Lakers wishfully continued to clear cap space.

According to a source, the Lakers chose not to make a qualifying offer to athletic, 6-foot-5 shooting guard Kent Bazemore, the player L.A. acquired last season from Golden State for Steve Blake.

The reason for not extending the $1.1 million qualifying offer to Bazemore, who averaged 13.1 points and 3.1 assists in 23 games with L.A., was to continue to carve as much cap space as possible to make a run at both James and Anthony, who has already informed the New York Knicks that he will become a free agent.

Free agency begins Tuesday. The Lakers have only three players under contract for next season: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Robert Sacre, plus a team option to bring back Kendall Marshall.

During the NBA Finals, in which the San Antonio Spurs whipped the Heat in five games, motivating Miami to re-tool its roster — which would first require James, Wade and Bosh to opt out to create needed cap space — USA Today reported that the Lakers were deliberately holding off on hiring a coach until they entered the free agency period with hopes of convincing at least one superstar, if not both, to join the team.

Whatever chance exists for the Lakers to land James would appear to be diminishing. Also on Saturday, Heat forward Udonis Haslem decided to not opt into the final year of his contract at $4.6 million. Haslem, whom Wade and James wanted on the club when they signed in 2010, played in just 46 games during the regular season and had only a limited role in the postseason.

Haslem’s guaranteed salary for next season is far higher than he would garner on the open market, suggesting a plan is in place for he, James, Wade and Bosh to return to Miami for lower annual salaries over a longer term.

As for Anthony’s services next season, the Lakers are in competition with the Knicks, who can pay Anthony the most money, the Chicago Bulls, who might be the best fit, the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.

67 Comments

  1. ludachrisgsx says:

    So here we go with all these roster projections that are in the $90mm+ per year range. You guys really need to look at how much room the Lakers actually have to offer and how much the true market value is for some of the players on your lists. If they can’t get Melo or LeBron (highly unlikely) they might be able to lure someone like Lowry and maybe Gortat, but then they’re done spending. That will take up almost all their free cap space and they still need to sign bench players. No Pau, no Ariza, no Bledsoe, and no money left to try and sign Love next year.

    The best case scenario outside of getting LeBron is to sign someone like Lowry or Bledsoe (who will likely be matched by Phoenix) and try for Love next year and just rent some talent to cover this season. The team needs a quality young star talent this offseason, though not necessarily super star status, to lure Love to take the chance on joining an old Kobe. And then they can rent some talent for a year to be somewhat competitive and give Kobe a chance to mesh with the new player until they can take a shot at Love.

  2. Chris says:

    If I were the Lakers, this would be the destination, I would take if I were ahead of basketball opperations.

    Keep; Bryant, Randle, Clarkson

    Trade: Nash, Sacre, Rights to Marshall (get picks)

    Sign the following Free Agents; Lowry,Monroe, Ariza

    Re-Sign Henry, Kelly, Farmer, Hill

    This is what the Lakers would look like: Team/ Depth Chart

    PG. Lowry
    SG Bryant
    SF Ariza
    PF Randel
    C Monroe
    6Farmer
    7Kelly
    8Henry
    9Hill
    10Clarkson
    11 Ross (Summer leauge team)-OSU

    Also I would hire (Jeff Van Gundy) as their head Coach!

    That way you will have a team that can compete! As well as Salery cap room for next year.

  3. Milen says:

    Anyone still talking about Bynum playing for an NBA team obvoiusly needs to wake up and smell the roses… helloooo? The man is done…. unless somebody installs new knees on him….

  4. WazalaK says:

    pg: nash, bledsoe, lowry
    sg: kobe, meeks, young
    sf: george, randle
    pf: gasol, hill
    c: love, sacre

    possible? :)

  5. Jovon says:

    Lakers 2014-2015 Roster (If I was in charge)
    pg: Kendall Marshall
    sg:Kobe Bryant
    sf:Carmelo Anthony
    pf:Julius Randle
    c:Andrew Bynum
    bench: jordan farmar nick young xavier henry jordan hill chris kaman steve nash robert sacre jordan clarkson
    head coach:Mark Jackson(or any other good coach who can make this roster gel)

  6. ALVIN says:

    I would go for a team if
    Gasol
    Randle
    Love
    Kobe
    Rondo

    And with the bench of
    Hill,sacre, marshall,young, meeks farmar, nash, johnson, bazemore, henry

    Rondo would make nice plays for the other players to be wide open and give nice field goals. They can also give a push to Anthony but for anthony will accept other offers. LBJ will go back to miami and make a 5th run at the championship. The lakers needs a young bench to cope up with the veterans. The lakers already have good chemistry between this young players and few more games would make them better. They also need a good, responsible and tactical coach that could give them the right plays. You dont need an all superstar team but a team with good chemistry and are comfortable with one another.

  7. ALVIN says:

    I would go for a
    Gasol
    Randle
    Love
    Kobe
    Rondo

    And with the bench of
    Hill,sacre, marshall,young, meeks farmar, nash, johnson, bazemore, henry

    Rondo would make nice plays for the other players to be wide open and give nice field goals. They can also give a push to Anthony but for anthony will accept other offers. LBJ will go back to miami and make a 5th run at the championship. The lakers needs a young bench to cope up with the veterans. The lakers already have good chemistry between this young players and few more games would make them better. They also need a good, responsible and tactical coach that could give them the right plays. You dont need an all superstar team but a team with good chemistry and are comfortable with one another.

  8. IVAN says:

    Nash, (Calderon), Kobe, Melo, Love, Gasol, and it will be really interesting to watch the first NBA team virtually
    without any defense. Really! People, are you completely out of your mind – any team with more then one of them is hopeless.

  9. The Lakers are not out of the hunt for another superstar they are weighing their options. Let’s face it Kobe is gonna prove he can play on an elite level then we will see if they can get in the playoffs. However if they do not get another superstar then they will be out of whack. starting lineup this year Kobe. Carmelo, Gortat. Randle Gasol Bynum Basemore Nash farmer lowery.

  10. stefnumb says:

    LAKERS 2014-2015 ROSTER

    KYLE LOWRY
    KOBE BRYANT
    CARMELO ANTHONY
    ANDRAY BLATCHE
    GREG MONROE

    JORDAN CLARKSON
    SPENCER HAWES
    THABO SEFOLOSHA
    JULIUS RANDLE
    xAVIER HENRY

    STEVE NASH
    ROBERT SACRE
    ANDREW BYNUM
    TREVOR ARIZA
    JERRYD BAYLESS

    LET’S GET IT ON……

  11. G R Srinivasan says:

    The Thunder have to make a move to refresh their roster – dump Perkins and Sefalosha – get Love

  12. Two words….. NATE ROBINSON!

  13. the truth says:

    lakers fans dont push it . kobe = D.O.N.E

  14. ron says:

    for me. it is better if lebron and melo join to lakers. to help kobe in 6champion. if lebron melo kobe had the lakers . it is very better team. for sure it is going to the finals.

  15. ghhhgkhgh says:

    Carmelo looks perfect with a bulls jersey he, rose and noah will be a force to be reckoned with

  16. Mike Jones says:

    PG:Westbrook, Arenas, Hart
    SG:Mamba, Game
    SF:Swaggy, Snoop, Slim
    PF:JaVale, Barkley
    C:Perkins, Shaq

  17. Mike Jones says:

    If I was Lakers GM I would:

    1.Trade Randall, Nash, 10 future 1st round picks and cash for Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins

    2.Re-Sign dat Young Buck Phenom Swaggy P (possibly max deal)

    3.Trade Sacre, 7 future second round picks and cash for JaVale McGee

    4.Sign Gilbert Arenas, Kevin Hart, The Game, Snoop Dogg, Slim Williams, Charles Barkley and Shaq

    5.Sign Stevie Wonder as the new Head Coach

    Hands Down The Most confusing and erratic team ever! Other teams would feel like they’re being attacked from errwhere. Not even Popovich could game plan 4 them!

  18. LA LAND says:

    Nash
    Kobe
    Melo
    LBJ
    Gasol
    Thats an unstopable force

  19. Moe says:

    I think the Lakers should make a play for Love and Melo….

  20. Benjamin says:

    PG: Nash/Marshall/Farmar
    SG: Bryant/Meeks/Young
    SF: Anthony/Kaman
    PF: Hill/Randle
    C: Gasol/Sacre

  21. la la land says:

    would be better trying to get Love and why not Rondo in a trade for Gasol … that at least would make sense with Kobe and they can still get good role/bench players

  22. sid says:

    Randal
    Love
    Gasol
    Bryant
    Marshall

    Bench:
    Kelly/Henry
    Hill/Johnson
    Sacre/Kaman
    Young/Meeks
    Farmer/Clarkson/Nash

    And a defensive strong minded coach!

    That would make the perfect rooster for a championship run already next season for LA

    the group had a really good chemistry last season despite the losses and the expiring contracts – I say keep as many as possible together.
    this rooster gives the old guys enough breaks to keep them well all season if you rotate well enough like San Antonio did – and still gives Love enough minutes as well.
    gives the possibility to play all kind of scenarios – fast, slow, inside, outside, man or zone, …..

    Go for it LA!!! I promise you keep wining !!! ;-)

    • C Dineros says:

      Sid…………….That’s the smartest thing I’ve read in about a hundred blogs. That’s a team that’s playoff ready. You really know your basketball

    • Brian says:

      Really??? gasol at the 3 guarding Lebron or Melo, or Kawhi Leonard??? That’s a joke

  23. sid says:

    Lakers and LeQueen – NEVER – hopefully!
    James would not be that stupid – ruin all that is left for him – first time a little trouble in Miami and he is off? He needs to re-group and lead the team to the next championship – its the only way to save that little of the legacy he has left.
    Antony is another matter – but I can not also see that – two high frequency shooter at the same team? Not sure that would be a good idea!
    Kevin would be a much better fit!
    Randal
    Love
    Gasol
    Bryant
    Marshall

    Bench:
    Kelly/Henry
    Hill/Johnson
    Sacre/Kaman
    Young/Meeks
    /Farmer/Clarkson/Nash

  24. paul says:

    anthony
    gasol
    gortat
    bryant
    nash

    how about that?

  25. Joseph Daniel Ybarra says:

    I’m a Purple and Gold Die hard. KOBE is one of the all Time Laker greats. Realistically, the roster does play a big role in a championship. BUT the bold caption here is Laker Management and continuing Dr. BUSS and Jerry West’s legacy an culture. And lets face it, Mitch an The Buss children are unable to recapture that Spark or want to for that matter. Dr. Buss an West made you a believer in the purple an Gold an Gave Heart. The Buss children just project stats an no loyalty to a roster an dont understand what there looking for in a roster anymore. DR. Buss and Jerry West when building a roster or trading for players looked at the character an personality of the player first before there talent. That what made player want to be in the purple an gold and bench players play beyond better then the talent they actually had

  26. swurve says:

    Mitch already said he will make a push at Melo or LBJ listen to Mitch.

  27. amazonsale says:

    Never though i would see an era where the celtics and the lakers where not in the mix of anything i really think we will have to wait a good 3 years or more until the get back on top.

  28. TruPurpNGold says:

    All the Laker haters are trolling this article because they are afraid the LAKERS will return to be a contender. For those idiots that think Kobe is done. I say stay tuned. He’s 20 times better than DWade. Lakers need to fill 2 positions. PG & SG as Kobe will operate as a SF and be more of a facilitator. Don’t under estimate the power of the LAKERS franchise and front office. $$$ is not an issue. And when that is the case, I believe anyone would come to the LAKERS to play with the Great MAMBA. As for Lebron coming to LA, NOT realistic! As for Melo, I think its a big possibility, counting that him and Kobe are really good friends and they can co-exist together. I can see the roster looking something like this (REALISTIC)

    PG – Bledsoe /Farmar /Nash
    SG – Bazemore / Henry / Rookie
    SF – Kobe / Swaggy P
    PF – Melo /Randle
    C – Gasol / Sacre
    Coach – B Scott

    I truly don’t think this is a contender, but definitely a 6 or 7 seed in the West. In 2015 this team will add K. Love making them a true contender in the WEST.

  29. Lakers 2014- 2015 says:

    PG: Avery Bradly/ Nash
    SG: Kobe Bryant/ Bazemore
    SF:LeBron James/ Young
    PF: Carmelo Anthony/ Randle
    C: Kevin Love/ Sacre

  30. marlon green says:

    Kobe hard to play with? Really? He didn’t appear to hard to play with when he lead Team USA to that gold medal did he? All those stars had no problem deferring to him when the game was on the line did they? If Kobe was so hard to play with why has Gasol and Fisher stick around for so long? It’s not about Kobe, no one wants the challenge of being the next face of the franchise for the Lakers. Dwight Howard knew that and he had no chance of coming close to what all the other great centers before him did thats why he left. You guys can blame it on Kobe all you want but you know no one is up for the challenge of being the Lakers franchise player. You guys talk about these star players wanting the spotlight, well I dont know a bigger stage than this one. What true superstar wouldn’t want the spotlight of taking the torch from Kobe and leading one of the league’s biggest franchises?

  31. imissthethunder says:

    Why is Steve Nash still on the Faker roster? Oh, I forgot, they are fakers. The Faker roster this season is going to continue to be a bunch of misfits, headlining and starring Kobe, co-starring Swaggy P and cameos and special acknowledgements to Steve Nash. The Fakers will not be starring Carmello, Love or Lebron. Let Kobe be the ruler of nothing.

  32. reggohllabam'i llabehtemevig says:

    Lakers could try to get someone, but they WILL FAIL to get one. even if they do, it’ll be another failure like how they got Dwight Howard along with Steve Nash to be called a so-called “super team”, only it’ll be who wants the ball more between Kobe, LeBron, and ‘Melo.

  33. Lewis Brooke says:

    The lakers will win nothing with kobe still on the books and lebron knows this, if the lakers get melo in free agency they have a chance to be the eigth seed but otherwise with kobe they will not be a top 6 playoff team. Kobe getting $24+ million a year is screwing the lakers over he should be getting same money as manu if he really cares about lakers or wants to win anything

  34. The Lakers should fist retire Bryant …. then LBJ will be coming in.

  35. tyrion says:

    KOBE IS DONE

  36. Paulius says:

    I dont think Lakers will get LeBron James because: James and Wade going to stay together and both go to the same team and I dont see Wade as a Lakers.

  37. Chi1313 says:

    Melo to bulls

  38. youngvail says:

    I SEE CARMELO AS A LA LAKER BUT JAMES NO WAY THAT WOULD NOT WORK EVEN IF MELO DO COME WHO TEAM IS IT OH YEAH 24$ NASH NEEDS A RING KOBE WANTS MORE AN PAU COME BACK MELO YOU CAN SURE COME ON OVER HERE BRO

  39. Mandalay says:

    Going after Lebron is a waste of time !!!! Everyone is going to clear out salry space and in reality he ain’t going nowhere but back to Miami …..he just turning all this into drama like Dwight !!!!! Sad but true ..,,,they don’t want to play with Kobe …& Kobe cant co -exist with most of these guys !!!! Lakers just got to focus on 12 players that WANT to be here !!!! & whatever happens ….HAPPENS !!!! No whining …..especially from KOBE !!!

  40. rival says:

    Bledsoe Kobe gay randle bosh any questions?

  41. OVIC says:

    Game of Basketball,old ball ,her heaviness,always that brown appearance,and forever just a fellowship that can play her…..All that ball needs is called a TEAM,CREW….A thru Champion is only my Game…..VLADE DIVAC

  42. Future Hype says:

    send Kevin love to Lakers n ya’ll need to replace Nash immediately if you guys plan on getting another championship #realtalk#

  43. FERNIE.O says:

    Resign YOUNG,HILL,MEEKS,GASOL,KAMAN and try to sign ARIZA, MELO or LBJ PLUS TAKE A CHANCE AT LOVE. With RANDLE AND KB24 plus have NASH COME OFF THE BENCH.. LAKERS WILL RISE AGAIN!! L.N 4EVER!!

  44. Jay says:

    Melo is coming to town get use to it. Great players learn how to change their game to fit well with others. kobe want this to be part of his legacy. kobe is really smart the only knock on him now is he not a good team mate , watch this Melo will come you will see a different Kobe just to prove he can.

  45. jibs911 says:

    i would prefer the lakers acquire anthony and re sign pau….maybe resign farmar over marshall….farmar/kobe/anthony/randle/gasol starting line up would be strong…and then maybe sign young,johnson,hill…that for me would be a great team….well they still need to complete the roster but i say that’s a pretty good start right there….

    • v1ncente16 says:

      I really dont think that bigname players will decide for the lala land this summer except maybe alikes of Bledsoe, Lowry, Love etc. decent role players that could help build a contender team. I would definetely not sign Marshall who has no defense, size, strenght and enough consistent shooting ability to fit a solid Lakers team. I would however sign Farmar who has really progresed off and on the court and was once a part of title winning Lakers. I would also add Pau, Hill and maybe Johnson and Pau could be better next season from standpoint of coaching where he could play his game not having problems with roster changes, trades etc. and hopefully with no injury suprises he will be able to perform at a decent level.

  46. Rangers says:

    They aren’t going after lebron lol. Kobe being “hard to play with” doesn’t exactly have merit because of his 5 rings and 10+ winning seasons.

    Lakers should be going after Eric Bledsoe (suns drafted a pg), ariza, and either Carmelo (less likely) or Monroe/okafor/deeper bench

  47. Limo says:

    Yeah man – Kobe is a Laker for Life!

    • what the deuce? says:

      I am 100% a die hard Kobe fan. … B U T ….

      When he decided to have a max deal (one last pay day when hes worth 300+mill) and not allow for the team to sign another big player, i realized he wasnt about winning anymore. he was about him. hes a champ and a beast, one of the best ever, but he chose money over winning these last couple seasons and thats sad…..

  48. randomguy says:

    As a Laker fan, I am torn. On one hand, this is the last few years of Kobe’s career, so you do want to get back to a championship caliber in order to get him one more ring. However, realistically, it’s not going to happen. Kobe is notoriously not easy to play with, would not mesh well with either LeBron or Melo (Bosh would fit better, but would then require signing a third star to really be an elite team). So really, the Lakers should be going full rebuild mode, trying to land themselves the next star.

    Remember that West and Magic were both drafted by the Lakers, and Kobe was traded for on draft day so the Lakers do have some history of drafting stars and keeping them (because really, not as many people will bolt from LA as from say Milwaukee). They may have landed some stars (Shaq, Kareem, Wilt) from free agency, but they should not rely on just stealing stars from other teams.

  49. big O says:

    you have to make an attempt at least. even if all three agrees to say 15mil. each, that’s already 45mil. and they need about 3 decent role players. so I wish them goodluck. I dont see this working. but I am just an observer.

  50. James gooooooooooo to the heat with Kobe that’s the new champions Kobe and lebron

    • Mada says:

      Have you had your mental state checked lately?

      • what the deuce? says:

        If Kobe agreed to be the second alpha male there it would be amazing. Unlike wade Kobe is still a deadly scorer and as a second option as more of a pure 2 guard and spot up shooter (waaayyy better stroke then wade) hed still drop 25-30ppg a night.
        lebron wud get his 27/7/8 and theyd win a championship with Pau as center.

        PG…Lowry
        SG…Mamba
        SF…King
        PF…Sacre
        C….Pau

        2014/2015 Champs

      • Kodi says:

        Lol.. Messed up kids lol

      • Celentano says:

        Nobody gonna go to lakers until Kobe retires!! Sorry lakers no playoffs again