The Los Angeles Lakers were not successful when trying to re-sign center Dwight Howard this offseason. The team is now set on rebuilding fast by focusing on the two biggest free agents of 2014 — LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
YouWager experts are unsure about whether or not the Lakers will be able to land James or Anthony, with one source calling it “realistic” and another saying it was “far-fetched at this point.”
Even so, the Los Angeles team has made it clear they are positioning themselves for a run at one and perhaps even two of the superstars who could become free agents in 2014, by refusing to commit to any contract past this next NBA season.
Furthermore,Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh also have early termination options on the five-year deals they signed in the summer of 2010. Luol Deng, Danny Granger, Andrew Bogut and Dirk Nowitzki will be unrestricted free agents in the summer.
The 28 year-old James is undoubtedly the biggest prize. However unlike in 2009 when James’ free agency options the following summer were on his mind, several sources have reported that James isn’t even considering his 2014 decision yet.
Anthony’s plans are also still unclear for next summer, but according to one source it would “make sense” for him to exercise the early termination option on his contract after next basketball season to become a free agent and secure either a four- or five-year extension.
It appears that most likely James will not seriously look at his choices until the end of next season. At that time, the Ohio native might use the same guiding principles as he did back in 2010: the talent on the prospective rosters and the chances they can lead to multiple chances at championships.
In 2012, teams chasing James like the New York Knicks and the then-New Jersey Nets were pitching the idea of pairing him with a second star.
The Miami Heat ultimately won James’ services largely because they were the only team that was able to put him next to two stars with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
If the 27 year-old Howard had re-signed with the Lakers, the team would only have had room to make a run at one player next summer and sign him to a maximum level contract. Now that he’s no longer there, the Lakers only have Steve Nash $9.7 million and Robert Sacre ($915,243) on the books for 2014-15, leaving them with enough space to make a run at two max-level players.