The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping they can land LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, who can opt from their contracts and become unrestricted free-agents this summer, according to a source close to situation on Monday.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the Lakers are reportedly stalling their head coaching search in hopes of nabbing a big time free-agent this offseason.
James and Anthony could lead a crop of elite free-agents this summer, because they all have opt-out options in their contract. While Anthony is more likely to hit the free-agency market, there are speculations that James could explore this summer, even more if the Heat fails to defend their championship against the San Antonio Spurs.
The idea of LeBron becoming a free-agent certainly excites Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, who is no stranger to pulling off huge transactions.
"The slow pace of the Lakers' coaching search that began April 30 when Mike D'Antoni resigned has been timed deliberately with the upcoming free agency period in the NBA, according to a person with knowledge of the situation," Amick stated in his report.
"Specifically, the idea that the Lakers could beat the odds and land the likes of the Heat's LeBron James, the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony or any of the other superstars who may be free agents on July 1 has led the Lakers to plod through their process so as to not limit their potential options. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the search."
The Lakers only have Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre in their current roster, putting more loads of responsibility on Kupchak's shoulder to form a competitive team after one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
According to rumors, the Lakers are also eyeing up-and-coming stars like Erik Bledsoe, Kyle Lowry and Lance Stephenson. Re-signing All-Star forward Pau Gasol is also being considered, but that appears to be a long shot because of the Lakers need of a young player capable of becoming a cornerstone for the team's future campaigns.