Free Agency Proving Big Market Appeal Doesn’t Work for Lakers, Knicks Anymore

The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers just spent a season as laughingstocks, and a free-agency period littered with pratfalls means the jokes won't stop coming any time soon.

It can't be this way forever. The merciful law of averages (and the draft lottery) should eventually help the Knicks and Lakers haul themselves out of the cellar. But something has clearly changed about the way free agents make their decisions, and it doesn't bode well for either of the NBA's marquee franchises.


Banking on Belief

The Lakers' main problem, among many, is that they've spent the past few offseasons asking free agents to believe in something. Unfortunately for L.A., most prospective signees are so savvy, so ably supported by smart representation and so apprised of the basketball realities that they know putting faith in the Lakers' history is foolish.

They know the ownership group running things now is in place via inheritance and not merit. They see the product on the floor and they hear when Mark Cuban says things like this to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star Telegram: "I don't think people realize just how good of an owner Jerry (Buss) was. I looked up to him a lot. Absolutely. So I don't know if the Lakers will ever be the Lakers."

They see Kobe Bryant eating up $25 million in cap space.

They understand how difficult it is to win in the Western Conference.

They're not doing anything so silly as believing. They're thinking.

And when free agents think about the Lakers, they realize a storied past doesn't mean anything's promised in the future.

And Bryant, the organization's most iconic figure, isn't helping matters. According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, his sales pitch to free agent LaMarcus Aldridge was unimpressive.

Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding explained that Bryant's comments to Ald...

About the Author