Carmelo Anthony Has Much Better Free-Agent Options Than Los Angeles Lakers

Carmelo Anthony has plenty of choices in front of him as a free agent this summer, but don't expect him to seriously consider the Los Angeles Lakers as one of them.

Let's just get right into it: The Lakers are a terrible destination for Anthony.

Saddled by Kobe Bryant's ridiculous contract, L.A. is stuck in no man's land for at least a couple of years. And before anybody pipes up, I get it: The Lakers are paying Bryant $48.5 million over the next two seasons for reasons that go beyond what he'll be worth as a basketball player.

They want to reward him for his service to the franchise while simultaneously sending a message to prospective Lakers that the organization takes care of its own. That's fine.

But from a practical perspective, Bryant's salary means L.A. is using superstar money on a player who—by any logical survey—cannot be expected to play like a superstar. 

Sure, he's Kobe Bryant. If anyone can somehow find a way to be effective at his age and with his recent injury history, it's him. But let's not confuse him with some kind of superhero.

In order to be competitive, the Lakers really have just two options: They can either convince other stars to take paycuts to join Bryant, essentially making up the money they should have saved on his deal by taking it out of the pockets of others, or they can take the careful approach of rebuilding gradually over the next couple of years.

If Anthony's willing to pair up with Bryant for less money, surrender touches on offense, deal with the alpha dog attitude that has alienated virtually every talented player with whom Bryant has played (with the lone exception of the saintly Pau Gasol) and trust that the Lakers can find serious help to add to the mix right away, L.A. could make noise this year.

But let's be serious: That's not happening.

The alternative plan ...

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