The Los Angeles Lakers have always been linked with high-profile stars, getting a lot of attention from the rest of the league. This is common since the Showtime era, and the Lakers have reinforced that 'culture' over the past 20 years or so.
During the 2010s, they assembled a Big 3 to compete for the NBA title. But, unfortunately, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard couldn't get the job done in one of the worst Big 3s ever assembled.
But, that wasn't the end for the purple and gold. They tried to do the same a couple of years later. With Kobe Bryant returning from a season-ending injury, the Lakers signed him to a 2-year, $48 million extension, depriving them from landing two big names that would have helped Bryant compete for more titles.
Jack Fisher of Bleacher Report details in his new book, “Built To Lose: How the NBA’s Tanking Era Changed the League Forever,” how the Lakers were close to assembling a team with Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.
Via Silver Screen & Roll:
Even at the time, signing Kobe Bryant to a two-year extension worth $48 million before he could show how well he might recover from a torn ACL didn’t seem to make much sense from a purely on-court, basketball production perspective. And according to Jack Fischer of Bleacher Report in his new book, “Built To Lose: How the NBA’s Tanking Era Changed the League Forever,” the Lakers could possible have kept Bryant at half the price and kept them in the running for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, both of whom had real interest in signing in L.A. at the time.
What’s interesting even beyond that hypothetical is not only how that contract obviously precluded the Lakers from landing those two other superstars in that fateful summer of 2014, but also might have helped eventually sign James all these years later.
This would have been incredible for the Lakers. With Melo and Bron sharing touches with Kobe, that team would have terrified the association. Perhaps we wouldn't be talking about the Warriors dynasty if the Californians made different decisions, but we'll never know.
Melo and LeBron always wanted to play together. Kobe would have been happy to play with two good friends, and the Lakers fan would have lost their minds seeing these three monsters defending those colors.