The Lakers may not have landed their top target in 2013 free agency, but they're already planning to aim high again in 2014. According to Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, the Lakers are eyeing LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, who both have the opportunity to opt out of their respective contracts next summer.
The fact that the Lakers will be targeting the top free agents on the market doesn't come as any surprise, considering the team only has two players (Steve Nash and Robert Sacre) on its books beyond this season. The Lakers have frequently been cited as a potential suitor for LeBron, along with the Heat and Cavaliers, while plenty of outlets have speculated recently that L.A. will pursue Carmelo.
Whether the Lakers actually have a good chance to sign either player is another issue altogether. Shelburne's and Windhorst's sources have divided opinions on how likely either superstar is to make the jump to Los Angeles, with one source calling it "realistic" while another says it's "far-fetched at this point." According to ESPN.com's sources, LeBron isn't even considering his options for next summer yet, so it's impossible to handicap the odds right now.
"It's all wishful thinking at this point," said the league source. "Teams are doing more wishing than LeBron is wanting right now."
In order to have room for two maximum-salary players, the Lakers would need Kobe Bryant to take a significant pay cut, an idea Kobe didn't seem overly enthusiastic about when he was asked recently. However, if the possibility of landing an elite player or two becomes more realistic, I'd expect Kobe to reconsider that stance when the time comes.