The history of the Los Angeles Lakers suggests they should be able to bring aboard a major star in 2014, when they could have large salary cap space. Some members of the Lakers' management, however, have long faces -- particularly when it comes to potentially signing LeBron James next summer.
"Within the organization there isn't a single person that believes we can bring LeBron aboard," one source close to Lakers management said.
"I don’t know if we’ll get a star player," Mitch Kupchak recently said.
Two reasons the Lakers are not in strong position to land a star is they might not have all that much cap space and Kobe Bryant has gained a reputation as a difficult teammate.
Ramon Sessions left the Lakers for the Charlotte Bobcats in free agency last offseason and sources with knowledge of his thinking say tricky Laker politics, where the blame tends to fall everywhere but with Bryant, was also on his mind.
“Pau [Gasol] is a two-time champion and a five-time All-Star and he’s one of the most disrespected players ever,” notes one agent. “He gets bad press all the time.”
When another agent with a Lakers client was asked if he thought Bryant might be a sticking point for free agents, his immediate response: "Uh, duh. Yes."