Carmelo Anthony is now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder! Many did not see this blockbuster trade coming, including myself. The Thunder are now a legit title contender. But, what does this mean for the Los Angeles Lakers now in the 2018 offseason? Did this trade hurt the Lakers? The answer is absolutely!
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and LeBron James may have their eyes set on looking to join the Lakers in 2018. With Carmelo leaving the East, this gives LeBron more of an incentive to stay in the East. The Cavs only really have to get by the Celtics to go back to the Finals, so LeBron leaving to go to the tougher conference is maybe not the best idea. By adding Melo, it incentives Westbrook and Paul George to stay in OKC because it is a team that can compete for a championship for several years. The Thunder could just be the second best team in the West now. Westbrook and George may decide to give it more than one year to try to take down the Warriors.
The Lakers may not have enough other weapons to help lure any of these three away from their current situations. The Lakers are more than likely going to miss out on all the big names again in 2018. The New York Knicks hurt the Lakers chances even more of landing big name free agents in 2018. The Pacers and Celtics previously hurt it from all of their trades and transactions, but the Knicks may have just put the icing on the cake. The Lakers may get left out again.
There is still a full season to play before anybody decides where they will hoop in 2018, but the Lakers chances of becoming a contender in 2018 keep dwindling as the season approaches. It will be interesting to see if Magic can bring in some big name free agents over the next few off-seasons because of the emergence of many super teams in the Western Conference.