The Los Angeles Lakers can officially sign free agents and complete trades, as the calendar turns to July 10. The organization has been linked to rumors involving several big names, as it looks to improve after one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
L.A. could be one of the biggest players in the 2014 offseason because they have so much space under the salary cap. They are committed to paying just over $34 million for next season, giving them about $29 million to spend on free agents for 2014-2015.
The Lakers have a lot of work to do, as they only have four players on their roster. Below is an update on their biggest targets of the summer.
The free agent has yet to make an official announcement, but the most likely scenario has him retuning to the New York Knicks. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that Anthony would stay in the Big Apple, barring a last-minute change of heart.
L.A. reportedly impressed Anthony with their pitch to the All-Star, and had him highly considering playing in Los Angeles. The team is prepared to offer him a max contract, which only the Knicks would be able to give him. Anthony has been the Lakers’ No.1 target, and not signing him would give them team a lot of money to spend.
The big man likely won’t make a decision until Anthony and LeBron James choose their destinations. Even after an injury-plagued season, Gasol is highly coveted by several NBA teams. Members of the Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly met with Gasol, and the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, and Knicks are also options for the veteran.
The Lakers have an advantage over other teams, since they can offer him more money than anyone else. L.A. might have a better chance of keeping Gasol if they can somehow sign Anthony, but with the roster being so barren, he could look to sign with a team that can contend for a title. Even if Los Angeles does sign Gasol, there’s a chance they won’t keep him. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls are hoping to acquire Gasol through a sign-and-trade. The Lakers would get Carlos Boozer, who has an expiring contract, in a potential deal.
While the Lakers are continuing to pursue free agents, they still don’t have a head coach. Mike D’Antoni resigned from the position over two months ago, and the team appears to be waiting to sign a few players, before they hire a new one.
Kobe Bryant may have a lot of input in who the team ultimately chooses, and he could point the Lakers towards Byron Scott. On Wednesday, Bryant detailed why he favors Scott, who was his mentor as a rookie and with whom he’s developed a close relationship. Scott has had three different head coaching stops since 2000, though he won just 64 in his last stint, which last three years with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
A native of Inglewood, Scott began his playing career with the Lakers, winning three titles in the Showtime Era.
Other candidates include George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.