As soon as the 35-year-old Kobe Bryant inked his two-year, $48.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, reporters started getting reaction from around the league. With the New York Knicks in Portland to play the Trail Blazers, Carmelo Anthony said he didn't know yet whether free agents would be inclined to join Bryant in Los Angeles, via USA Today's Sam Amick:
When asked if free agents like himself would see Bryant as a star who is still worthy of joining in order to contend for a title, Anthony said, "I mean you'll have to see. It's hard to gauge at this point, not until he comes back (from his April Achilles tendon tear) and figures some things out. So I don't know. They might have some plans up their sleeve."
"I think (Bryant) wanted to get that done," Anthony told USA TODAY Sports. "Especially now, coming off that injury, that he wanted to solidify that (contract). I don't think he ever had any doubt of leaving the Lakers, so he got that done early...He wants to win. I want to win. Everybody in the league, we want to win, so I just figured he was going to get that done."
Anthony stated before the season that he would opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent this summer. While he has given no indication that he'd be interested in signing with the Lakers, he and Bryant are friends and people love to speculate.
As outlined by salary cap guru Larry Coon, Los Angeles could theoretically create enough cap space to sign Anthony in the summer, but doing so would almost certainly ensure them a weak supporting cast. Even if Bryant is able to return to superstar-level production following his injury, it's hard to imagine the Lakers building a championship team around him and Anthony given how little cap room would be left to fill out the roster.