The late Lakers owner Jerry Buss often expressed confidence in throwing his poker chips onto the table after drawing a powerful hand.
But this draw might not be one of them.
The Lakers will be among most of the 30 NBA teams that will try to meet both with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony once they become unrestricted free agents June 30 at 9:01 p.m. Pacific Time. But Bovada, an online betting site, hardly has much confidence in that pair. Bovada currently lists the odds of James joining the Lakers at 20-1, while expressing more optimism that he will either retain his talents in South Beach (1-4) or return to Cleveland (5-1). Bovada believes other outside suitors have a better chance than the Lakers at wooing James, including the Chicago Bulls (9-1), Clippers (9-1) and Houston Rockets (19-2).
Could the Lakers settle on Anthony as a consolation prize?
Don’t hold your breath.
Bovada believes the Lakers have 15-2 odds to land Melo, falling below the Bulls (5-7) and New York Knicks (5-2), Rockets (13-2) and Miami Heat (13-2).
The Lakers appear well aware of these scenarios, anticipating the possibility that James will simply re-sign with the Heat after restructuring his contract to ensure the team has the purchasing power to upgrade its roster. The Lakers feel lukewarm on Anthony, whose high-volume shooting may clash with Kobe Bryant’s similar tendencies despite a long lasting friendship.
Yet, the Lakers still have a hand to play, touting its storied championship history, the beautiful city, the branding opportunities, Kobe Bryant’s skillset and an open roster that could be filled with talent that fit the vision James and Anthony wants.
Perhaps not enough for the Lakers to throw all their poker chips into the center of the table. But certainly enough to still have a seat at the table and play.