Disclaimer: No homerism will be present in this Fanpost, I will do my best to present a possible situation as bipartisan as possible...
I hope everyone is ready for Sportcenter to turn into Lebroncenter for the next month or so. For the record, I think the chances of Lebron NOT resigning with Miami are very slim. However, a once in a lifetime type player does not hit the open market very often, and you would be wrong if you didn't think a signficant number of teams will begin to make roster moves and shuffle numbers around in preperation of offering a max deal.
It's mind blowing to be that Kobe Bryant makes 30 million a year at this point of his career, isn't that crazy? He's one of the greatest ever, don't get me wrong, but 30 million! With that kind of money on the books committed to one player, I don't see the Lakers putting a lot of value in the #7 pick, even in a loaded draft. I think the Lakers valued their lottery pick this year considerably BEFORE the lottery order was determined. LA lost more games this year than they have in decades, in hopes of landing a franchise type player like Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. With Parker, Wiggins, and even Exum now out of reach, I just don't see a player at #7 the Lakers can draft that will excite Kobe right now, in 2014-15.
I do think the Lakers can/will attempt to put themselves in a position to offer two max deals THIS SUMMER. Lebron? Carmelo? Not likely to come to fruition, but I'm sure they will try. The Lakers are the Lakers, and the organization most likely feels the prestige, history, market, and presence of Kobe is enough to lure top-5 type Free Agents. Paul Gasol is off the books this summer. So is everyone else on the Lakers roster not named Bryant or Nash (not including some other minimum contracts not worth mentioning). Enter Orlando into the discussion.
I think Los Angeles is in position to offer one max deal this summer. However, if the Lakers were able to clear Steve Nash's contract, they would be very close to being able to offer TWO max deals. I realize lottery picks are valuable assets, I realize that in this year's draft lottery picks are valued even more carefully than in a typical year. But if the #7 pick (owned by LA) was payment to a team for being able to take back Steve Nash's deal (and this transaction made acquiring let's say Melo and Lebron possible), don't you think LA would give up the pick in a second? In other words, should the Lakers give up on a pick that could possibly turn into an all-star or even a solid rotational piece for 7-10 years, in exchange for a chance to have Kobe, Lebron, and Carmelo play together for 2-3 years? Again, I said "chance"......LA could make a pitch and strikeout. Don't you think they would try though?
The Lakers haven't even hired a head coach going into the draft Thursday. If LA is truly content with keeping the #7 pick, wouldn't you want a coach's perspective (just even a little bit) on whom that pick should be? I realize that's usually a management decision. My point being, I really believe Free Agency is a bigger priority for the Lakers at this point compared to the upcoming draft.
I would be all about signing off on a deal like this:
Nash would only be under contract for one more season, which Orlando wouldn't mind at all. There's a good chance Steve may just retire if a deal like this was struck. Brooks would just be expiring filler. Orlando would basically be getting paid (#7) for helping LA free money up.
The Lakers would be able to free themselves of Maxiell's $2.5 million by not guaranteeing his deal, and LA could buyout Jameer for roughly $2 of his 8 million dollar contract. These financial moves could open up roughly 9 million dollars of wiggle room for the Lakers to be well on their way to offering a second max deal this summer.
I'm not trying to be a homer, I'm not trying to fleece the Lakers in this proposed deal. I know from the surface it looks strange. But the foundation of a deal like this makes sense. The Lakers would be trading a future asset (which Orlando needs, they need as much talent as they can get), for a chance (financially) to sign a proven franchise player right now that can play with Kobe and lead the franchise in the future after the Mamba is retired. Can you hear Kobe's window closing?