Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: GM To 'Go All Out' In Pursuit Of LeBron James And Carmelo Anthony [VIDEO]
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has let it be known that he intends to rebuild through free agency on the heels of the worst season in franchise history. Kupchak said the team will "go all out" this summer in free agency with the likes of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony on the market.
James and Anthony opted out of their contracts with the Knicks and Heat, respectively, and become avaiable Tuesday when the free-agency period begins. Kupchak interested in acquiring the two unrestricted free agents and possibly other free agents to help the Lakers rebound from a franchise-worst 27-55 record during the 2013-14 season. Los Angeles missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
"We're prepared," Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Thursday night. "If any of those players do want to make a move, we're prepared. And if we get word, when we're allowed to get word, we will go all out."
The Lakers and other teams will be at a disadvantage compared to the Knicks and Heat since those franchises can offer five-year deals worth more money to retain Anthony and James, respectively, and even though Los Angeles can only offer a four-year deal, Kupchak knows that money isn't everything.
"There's only so much you can do," Kupchak said. "The rules, at least financially, are such that for a max, max player, you're talking taking $30 [million], $35 million less to make a move. There are some players that are willing to do that, and some players just aren't. But we are prepared with enough space to be aggressive."
The Lakers will have close to $30 million in cap space to play with to restructure the team through free agency as Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Kendall Marshall (once the Lakers exercise their team option) are the only players under contract. Bryant signed a two-year extension this season and wants a sixth NBA title before he eventually retires.
L.A. knows how important it is for Anthony to win a title, and Kupchak feels he is in charge of a championship-contending team.
"We're still going to pitch that this is a championship franchise and that's going to be our goal," Kupchak said. "As long as Kobe is on this team, we have to believe that we can contend for a championship."
Kupchak, who is also looking for a new coach but has delayed the search in light of the draft and NBA free agency and doesn't anticipate hiring anyone until July, said that Bryant may be talking to potential free agents about joining him in Hollywood.
"My understanding is that a lot of the players at different levels talk to each other, and quite frankly, I don't know what they say," Kupchak said. "They do recruit each other, and I would not be surprised if Kobe reaches out or if free agents reach out to Kobe. I know from time to time we recruit free agents. I'll call Kobe and say, 'Hey, give this guy a call.' We did it with Steve Nash a couple years ago. So it's not unusual. When we do it, it's after July 1. Players talk year round."
The Lakers have a lot of intentions heading into the summer and some of their offseason wishes may come true come July 1 when free agency begins.
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