Fresh off of offering a max contract to Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is reportedly not done wooing big-time free agents. A report late Thursday night claims that Kupchak was flying to Cleveland to meet with Rich Paul, the agent for LeBron James.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who has become the queen of reporting on Lakerland, broke the news that many expected to come eventually. After all, James couldn’t really go through free agency without actually meeting with the Lakers, right?
The Lakers currently have tons of cap space and could offer LeBron a max contract, something many of his suitors can’t do without careful maneuvering. But Los Angeles also doesn’t have much of a roster, as Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre are the only guys currently under contract. The team holds an option on point guard Kendall Marshall and is likely to pick it up, and the Lakers also added Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson in the draft. So there is some talent on the roster, but it doesn’t look like they would be close to championship contention for a while.
If James wants glitz, glamour and the chance to join one of the greatest organizations in sports history, the Lakers simply can’t be beaten in this race. But he has also made it clear that his priority is championships, and Kobe and company may not be able to offer that any time soon.
Still, the fact that Kupchak is flying out to Cleveland to meet with LeBron’s representatives on the eve of a holiday weekend shows that the Lakers are serious about trying to lure the four-time NBA MVP.
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.