The Los Angeles Lakers better get used to rejection, because they’re in for a lot of it in the years to come. Where Los Angeles used to be the place most top tier players wanted to migrate, it is now the place where top free agents are avoiding like the plague. In their quest to land a viable free agent, General Manager Mitch Kupchek and Head of Basketball Operations and owner Jim Buss have been turned down more times than a one-legged man at a square dance. They tried to court the number 2 available free agent in Carmelo Anthony, who politely accepted a recruiting meeting, but decided to stay put in New York where he will pocket $33 million dollars more than the Lakers could pay (duh?). The number 1 free agent LeBron James didn’t even bother to take a meeting with the Lakers’ brass. There was also interest in point guard Isaiah Thomas of the Sacaramento Kings, but he opted to sign with the Phoenix Suns.
And two-time Lakers champion Pau Gasol, who has been the topic of trade rumors for the past 3 years, said thanks, but no thanks to the Lakers offer of $23 million for 2 years or $29 million for 3 years to resign. Instead he is fleeing to the Chicago Bulls for a reported $22.5 million dollar deal for 3 years. Other players being wooed who fled the scene include: Jordan Farmar (L.A. Clippers), Steve Blake and Chris Kaman (Portland), Jodie Meeks (Detroit) and Kent Bazemore (Atlanta). That Leaves the Lakers having to somehow assemble a team for the 2014-15 season. This means signing just about anybody who will agree to play for them. The Lakers overpay two holdovers from last season, just so they won’t abandon ship as well, by giving shooting guard Nick young $21.5 million over four years and forward Jordan Hill $18 million for two years. They also add the much-traveled Jeremy Lin, coming from the Houston Rockets, to play alongside the ancient point guard Steve Nash and the returning-from-major-injury Kobe Bryant. That’s surely a lineup which should strike fear throughout the league.