If they had managed to lure Anthony to L.A., the inevitable question mark that would quickly surround the franchise is what the next step would be. Giving him a max contract would have erased all of the Lakers’ cap space, likely forcing them to trade or stretch Steve Nash’s contract in order to create roughly six to nine million dollars of spending money.
Pau Gasol would have reportedly re-signed with the Lakers “quickly” if they were able to land Anthony, but would that turn the 16-time NBA champions into title contenders? Odds are, it wouldn’t.
Bryant coming off two major leg injuries combined with Anthony’s inept defensive ability and Gasol’s lack of effort on that end raises too many red flags a year after the Lakers were atrocious defensively. Offensively, the trio would have to figure out who eats first. Would Bryant be willing to sacrifice a portion of offensive touches in order to let Anthony — one of the game’s best scorers — do what he does best? Would Gasol get enough touches in the post where he is most effective or does he have to step away from the basket to give the wing duo room to operate? Could Anthony develop into the alpha dog that can lead his team to championships once Bryant rides off into the sunset?
Where would that leave Julius Randle? A trio of Bryant, Anthony, and Gasol likely means that Randle would get a significant amount of his touches on offensive rebounds due to the other three jacking up the majority of the shots. That’s not necessarily the way you want to develop the first young building block that the franchise has possessed in years.
The point is, going down that road raises a massive amount of questions and uncertainty.
Ultimately, signing Anthony would have been a tremendous risk because the core players seemingly don’t correspond with one another. That kind of recipe along with playing in a stacked Western Conference could have been a disaster for the Lakers. If Bryant retired after his two-year contract extension is up, the Lakers would be right back in the same position they are in now. They would have one aging superstar — although Anthony would be 32, as opposed to the soon-to-be-36-year-old Bryant — and a bunch of holes in the roster to fill. In addition, Anthony could opt out of his contract with the Lakers after the third season, putting added pressure on the Lakers to find a solution to the hectic situation if they wanted to retain him.
An acquisition of Anthony certainly would have excited fans during the summertime. However, the excitement would slowly dwindle away as the season progressed, making it evident that the team didn’t have the correct pieces to the puzzle.
Laker fans should not be upset that the team moved on from their pursuit of Anthony.
They may not come this summer, but not far down the road waits better options for the Lakers in free agency. What does the plan for the next year or so hold for the Lakers? Only time will tell, but Kupchak usually finds a way to figure things out.
Carmelo Anthony And Pau Gasol Pass On The Los Angeles Lakers