The Los Angeles Lakers were serious contenders for the services of Carmelo Anthony this off-season. Unfortunately, despite their great pitch, Anthony decided to remain with the New York Knicks.
Anthony represented the Lakers’ best chance at bringing in a new superstar this summer, but now that opportunity is gone and the Lakers must move on.
The team already began its ‘Plan B,’ trading for point guard Jeremy Lin as well as a first-round pick from the Houston Rockets. They also re-signed Nick Young to a four-year deal, and Jordan Hill to a two-year contract.
With only 10 players on the roster, the Lakers still have a few moves to make, and are still without a coach, but things are beginning to take shape now that Anthony has made his decision.
So we asked our experts to give their thoughts and reactions on the Carmelo Anthony decision, and what the Lakers need to do next. This is what they had to say:
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): The Melo drama is finally over. The Los Angeles Lakers received considerable interest from Carmelo Anthony, but ultimately, the New York Knicks could pay more while also providing the security of Phil Jackson calling the shots.
Even if the Lakers were able to land Carmelo in free agency, there’s no guarantee it would’ve been a game-changer for Los Angeles. Obviously, Carmelo and Kobe Bryant would have been a formidable combination, but it may not have been enough to propel the Lakers to title contending status regardless.
Unfortunately, without Carmelo in the fold in Los Angeles, the Lakers have to resort to Plan B. Although Kobe appeared confident about the team’s options if Carmelo passed, it seems as though the roster will likely look a lot like it did last season.
Nick Young and Jordan Hill are already committed to return with players from last year’s roster potentially also re-signing in the coming days. Jeremy Lin will also be in Los Angeles next season after being traded to the Lakers from the Houston Rockets.
Although the team will be better if Kobe is back to form, it could be more of the same for the Lakers next season. The team still needs to fill out the roster and more moves could be made, but expect another season of disappointment in Los Angeles.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): I originally believed the Lakers had little shot of getting Carmelo Anthony. They proved me wrong in making a strong play, but ultimately it didn’t matter.
Anthony is still in New York, but the Lakers have shown the threat they can be and have also made some good moves in the immediate aftermath.
The trade for Jeremy Lin upgraded the point guard position, and the Lakers got a first-round pick, a huge deal considering the Lakers had no draft pick in the 2015 draft.
Nick Young was retained in a relatively sensible deal. And Jordan Hill, while slightly overpaid, also has a team-option so the Lakers can get out of the deal next summer if they want to.
The Lakers still have a couple of moves to make. Xavier Henry could be brought back for cheap, and the Lakers sorely need another big man who can be a rim protector.
Ultimately, the Lakers were unable to do what they wanted to do this summer, but the team is still improved over last year’s edition and they aren’t finished just yet.
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): In the wake of Carmelo Anthony staying with New York, the Lakers were forced to move on to their alleged Plan B. Overall, I feel the front office has done an okay job with what they have done.
Since not having Anthony pretty much meant Pau Gasol was unlikely to return to the Lakers, the team unfortunately seems headed towards taking another step back this upcoming season.
The move to land Jeremy Lin was a good one in my eyes. The Lakers needed an upgrade at point guard and were able to get a decent floor general while giving up nothing. With only one year left on Lin’s contract, the cap situation is still friendly in upcoming off-seasons.
I also like the move to bring Nick Young back especially at the price for which the Lakers were able to get him for. In a free agency where a lot of players are getting overpaid, getting Young relatively cheap is plus.
As for the Jordan Hill move, I felt offering him $9 million was pretty steep. The Lakers did need some size, and Hill’s motor is undeniable. Still, the move makes it harder for the team to fill out the rest of the lineup.
There is still a need for some wing players, especially someone that can defend. The Lakers have about $4 million plus their $2.7 midlevel to work with which should be used to get another small forward to keep Young as the sixth man.
In addition, they also need to find a big man that can protect the rim. Between Hill, Robert Sacre, and Julius Randle, the interior defense can still be improved.
Melo and Gasol Pass On Lakers