We present to you “Exhibit A” on why the Lakers’ well-intentioned plans to clear up cap space for the 2014 offseason won’t automatically restore the Lakers’ championship fortunes.
Indiana forward Paul George basically confirmed he won’t be among one of those attractive free agents the Lakers wish they could sign next season. Instead, it appears George and the Pacers are going to ink a max extension well before the Oct. 31 deadline for players from the 2010 draft class.
“I’m happy, man. I’m happy in Indiana,” George told ESPN.com. “It’s overwhelming (to hear) that they would want a player like me to come play for their team. But right now I’m focused on Indiana. I’m happy to be in Indiana. Our future is bright in Indiana. I wouldn’t want to leave something great.”
The Lakers have their eyes on Miami’s LeBron James and New York’s Carmelo Anthony for obvious reasons. But they may feel the same way as George. Consider James unlikely considering a: the Heat are defending NBA champs and b: Pat Riley will do everything he can to build around him even if Miami doesn’t three-peat. Anthony seems more realistic considering his close friendship with Kobe Bryant and the never-ending dysfunction surrounding the Knicks. But that might be challenging considering the relationship soured between Anthony and Mike D’Antoni in his final moments in New York and that Anthony’s supreme scoring abilities could diminish with Bryant’s presence.
Still, it’s hard to fault the Lakers for ensuring Steve Nash and Robert Sacre remain the lone players under contract beyond the 2014 offseason. Such cap flexibility gives the Lakers a best chance at securing stars in the same way that proved so seamless in past seasons. But as George’s signals show, the Lakers’ financial flexibility serves far from a guarantee that it will yield more NBA titles.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org