According to a new Forbes article by Mark Heisler, Laker kids are in panic mode and desperate for a star after not thinking through the Kobe deal for 48.5 million.
Melo or Lebron is not happening. These pitch meetings are a bit embarrassing even since lakers have nothing to offer these guys in the way of a plan. The best option for the lakers with the current cap and roster is to sign Isaiah Thomas and Lance Stephenson. May not be a championship team but could be playoffs. But any hope for a ship sailed away with that poison pill Kobe contract. Dirk just signed for 10 million a year so Dallas could build a winner. What the lakers did with Kobe was reckless in today's CBA.
By mark Heisler on www.forbes.com
"Just asking: If they wanted to pursue James and Anthony, why, oh, why did they give Kobe Bryant that $48.5 million extension, cluttering up next season’s salary cap with $23.5 million of it?
With Steve Nash waived and “stretched” so his cap charge goes down to $3.2 million, that would have left four more players under contract (Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly, rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson) with enough for a maximum offer ($22.4 million in first-year salary for Melo, $20 million for Bron) and $10-12 million to give six more players… after renouncing Pau Gasol.
Thus the Lakers were asking Anthony–and will ask James–to play with the 36-year-old Bryant; two rookies; one second-year second-round pick and eight guys off the waiver wire.
Hopefully, no one laughs in their face but for a storied franchise in what was once the NBA’s destination of choice, that’s not a serious offer.
In fact when the team gave Bryant that extension–at the prompting of Jeanie Buss, the popular member of the family, before Kobe returned from injury and lasted six games–the word around the organization was: We did this knowing that James and Anthony aren’t likely to be on the market and if they are, we’re not likely to have a shot at them.
Many misadventures later, the Buss kids, who weren’t capable of thinking the Kobe extension through, are desperate for a big score, no matter how unlikely that is with James and Anthony the only stars on the market and so little chance either would leave his team.
What the Lakers are doing now no longer qualifies as planning. It’s panic.
If it was Thursday, this must have been Los Angeles on the Melo Road to Nowhere. Of course, you may feel used if this ends with Anthony right back where he started, after wending his way from Chicago, where Joakim Noah talked Derrick Rose out of boycotting this meeting (as he did their 2010 presentation to James)… to Texas… to LaLa Land to see the Lakers… and, finally, what looks like a productive meeting with Los Angeles-based Knick boss Phil Jackson.
If Anthony would have taken less to contend, the Bulls and Rockets would have been attractive options, but with only enough cap room to offer $70-75 million deals, it was a lot less.
The Lakers were reportedly set to offer $96 million, even though it would have meant renouncing Pau Gasol.
A Kobe-Melo team with a waiver-wire supporting cast could make the playoffs but would be roadkill in the Western draw where the Spurs, themselves, went from 2007 to 2013 between Finals.
Oh, and there would have gone the Lakers’ money for Kevin Love or some other 2015 free agent–unless Kevin or whomever is OK with a waiver wire supporting cast.
And while we’re on the subject of Laker nightmares, as the team prepared to meet with Anthony, the Spurs and Heat were reaching out to Gasol. Now local fans, grappling with not getting Melo, can also envision Pau lining up alongside Tim Duncan or LeBron.
Long shot that the Bulls are with the lowest offer on the board, at least they have a reason to target Anthony with Rose’s injury history. It’s a mystery why savvy Heat Pres. Pat Riley wanted Melo–before writing it off as a “pipe dream”–instad of trying to revitalize his supporting cast as Gregg Popovich did, breathing life back into his Spurs.
Giving Rocket GM Daryl Morey credit for starting at square one and bagging James Harden and Dwight Howard, wooing Melo is another of life’s mysteries. With the shot-happy Harden, the petulant Howard and the pampered Melo, it wouldn’t be a grownup ensemble led by James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. “With Morey,” says an official of another NBA team, “it’s always about the splash.”
“Melo has always felt cheated,” said the official. “He got traded to New York. He didn’t get the billboards or the drama…. But he’s not LeBron. He’s not Kevin Durant. He’s not going to leave $35 million on the table. He’s going to take the money in New York for the same reason Kyrie Irving took it in Cleveland [signing a $90 million extension.] It’s a lot of money.
“If Melo was 26 and had two more max contracts in him, that would be something else. But he’s 30 and he only has one more.”
If Anthony has raised his game among those of the elite, his career is remarkable for his teams’ lack of accomplishment and his I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want it agenda. In 2011 he got the Knicks to trade young players like Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler for him, rather than go there as a free agent that summer to take one of their full salary slots… with the other waiting for Chris Paul.
A diminished cap projection with the 2010 lockout looming and the loss of flexibility with Melo’s $19 million salary is place of the eight players they had to move, cost the Knicks their chance at Paul, who was planning to leave New Orleans for New York–even joking about it in a toast at Melo’s 2010 wedding.
Obliged to find a new team, Paul held off until the Clipper deal was right, making sure they kept key players like Eric Bledsoe. With the Knicks, Melo had held out for no one, just the maximum number of dollars.
Grown-up superstars have much expected of them. In 2010 James junked a planned tour of the teams on his short list outside Cleveland–Miami, New York, Chicago and the Clippers–knowing it would look like it was about the attention.
No one is criticizing Anthony’s tour, however narcissistic an exercise it may turn out to be. If some GMs are too desperate to care, Melo’s not LeBron. No one else expects that much of him.
Hip insiders understand. Putting the Deadspin twist on it, the story about the Texas Tech football player who punched a women’s basketball star in the face in a pickup game, one was followed by a sardonic comment noting that women must accept equal treatment–”So, sorry ladies, but Carmelo Anthony isn’t going to pass you the ball, either.”
Actually, it turned out that Anthony could pass after all. Ask the Lakers."