Does Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak possibly adore Kevin Love more than he Does Carmelo Anthony?
In an interview with Lakers.com, Kupchak says that the Lakers are open to the possibility not signing anyone to a huge deal this summer and instead holding that cap space for 2015.
Several years ago, we made a conscious decision to line contracts up for this coming year of free agency. If you look at our payroll a year ago, with the exception of Steve Nash, we didn’t have anybody under contract (for 2014-15). That didn’t have so much to do with who was going to be a free agent in 2014, but more a function of some planning of how our roster (looked). You really have to be conscious of when players get to a certain age. Even though they are great players, they’re used to being paid at a certain level. And a lot of times you end up paying a guy a year to two longer than you should.
With Bryant locked in for the next two years, there is still space for a max player both this coming summer and the next. But in theory, if you like players you think would be up in 2015 and 2016, would you want to avoid giving a maximum contract this coming summer for a player you aren’t sure you want for five years?
Kupchak: That’s right.
MT: How would you summarize what you’re looking at for these next three seasons?
Kupchak: One of the premier free agents this coming summer was going to beKobe Bryant. He’ll no longer be a free agent. We have acquired him. As we approach the summer, we will see who’s available and weigh it against what we think is a sound and prudent basketball and business decision.
By making those statements, Kupchak obviously doesn’t feel he can land LeBron James, and anyone other than King James himself joining Kobe Bryant doesn’t necessarily constitute a championship core for the Lakers.
Compare the list of top free agents over the next two seasons, and tell me which summer seems more promising.
Kyrie Irving (rookie deal, unlikely to sign elsewhere, restricted free-agent)
I believe Kupchak is banking on being able to land at least two of the top free agents in 2015. The same can’t be said about this coming summer.
The summer of 2015 would give Kevin Love and another possible star one season to play with Kobe Bryant before he likely walks away in the summer of 2016.