Rumor Mill: Could the Lakers make a run at both LeBron and Carmelo in 2014?

USA players from left Kevin Durant , Carmelo Anthony , LeBron James and Kobe Bryant pose with their gold medals after defeating Spain 107-100 during the men's basketball gold medal game in the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Could Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant wind up competing against a Lakers team stacked with Kobe, LeBron and Carmelo in 2014 and beyond? (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

Over the last few seasons, we have learned a few things about the NBA’s current crop of superstars: LeBron James can win, Carmelo Anthony can be the leader of a franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers can lose players to free agency, but Kobe Bryant cannot get out from underneath the massive shadow of Michael Jordan.

At least, not without a sixth title ring. One of the reasons why superstar 7-footer Dwight Howard chose to leave the Lake-show in order to sign with the Houston Rockets this offseason was due to the fact that Bryant publicly stated that he wanted to play two or three more seasons to try to win his sixth career championship.

That may prove even more difficult in 2013. Bryant will be working his way back after tearing his Achilles last year and both Steve Nash and Pau Gasol will be another year older as well.

The 2014 season could be an entirely different story for Byrant and the Lakers, however.

According to Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, the Los Angeles front office is planning on making a run at both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James if one or both players choose to opt out of their contracts after next season.

Opinions are split on whether the Lakers can actually land James or Anthony, with one source calling it “realistic” and another saying it was “far-fetched at this point.” Nonetheless, the Lakers have made it clear they are positioning themselves for a run at one and perhaps even two of the superstars who could become free agents in 2014, by refusing to commit to any contract past this next season, multiple sources have said.

At the moment, the Lakers have only Steve Nash’s $9 million and Robert Sacre’s $915,243 on the books for 2014. Even Kobe Bryant will be a free agent after 2013. Of course, he is expected to re-sign, but he will have to do so for far less than the $30-plus million he is set to be paid next year.

That is one thing, and most likely Bryant would be more than willing to make it happen. Especially if that meant facilitating yet another title. However, again, everything is “wishful thinking” at this point.

“It’s all wishful thinking at this point,” a league source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN. “Teams are doing more wishing than LeBron is wanting right now.

“It’s not about where LeBron wants to go [to win]. He already has two rings. If LeBron moved to Reno, teams would come to him.”

[H/T: Bleacher Report]

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