As soon as they can sort out Kobe Bryant's contract, and get him to agree to take less money to help lure free agents over to make a couple more championship runs, the Lakers will be the most desirable destination for big name free agents.
Carmelo Anthony has been the name most linked with the team, and there has even been some semi-preposterous dreaming about teaming up Melo with LeBron James in Laker Land. Now a source reveals that Kobe would be the key to Anthony joining the Lakers next year - should he opt out.
The Knicks have between now and July 1 to prove to Anthony that they are building something resembling a contending team. A person familiar with Anthony’s thinking says that Kobe Bryant could be the X-factor in the Knicks’ negotiations with Carmelo. The Lakers will have cap space next summer and if Bryant promises Anthony that together they can make a run at a championship in Los Angeles, Dolan may be doomed.
Anthony owns a home in Southern California and his wife, La La, has spent a lot of time in Hollywood the last two years making movies.
The main factors here are: will Carmelo leave money to chase titles, will the Lakers look like a championship team if he joins them. You could make the argument that Anthony will leave the Knicks if they don't look like they are becoming contenders (and with the injuries to Stoudemire, and their bloated salary cap, they likely will not), but would he bolt to L.A. to join a severely aged Kobe Bryant and cap space?
Don't expect this storyline to go away anytime before July 1, 2014, when Melo can sign a contract extension or pursue free agency.