The LA Lakers are already plotting an audacious move for either LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony – or both – in the 2014 free agency period.
ESPN cite front office sources when claiming that the California-based franchise are looking to rebuild next summer with big names after failing to tie down Dwight Howard on a new deal.
The all-star centre left for the Houston Rockets, and whilst his exit is a blow in the immediate future, it gives the Lakers cap room to work with next summer.
The report claims the Lakers are positioning themselves to make a run at either one or both of the players, and are not committing themselves to contracts for others beyond next season.
2014 promises to be a stellar year in free agency, with James, Anthony, Luol Deng, Danny Granger, Andrew Bogut and Dirk Nowitzki all expected to be available. Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh could also end their contracts early.
If the Lakers can lure James and Anthony to the Staples Centre, then highest-paid player Kobe Bryant would need to take a pay cut to accommodate the duo. And, whilst the Team USA veteran admits that would be ‘bad business’, he’s not ruling it out completely. Discussions on an extension are set to take place at some stage in the next 12 months.
"As a businessman the goal is always to not take a pay cut," Bryant said. "But…"
The ‘but’ is a big one, given that the arrival of James and Anthony would instantly make the Lakers NBA Championship contenders once again.
And, with Bryant involved in the team’s recruiting efforts, a return to the glory days of 2009 and 2010 could be on the cards in Los Angeles.