The Los Angeles Lakers took a few big swings, hopeful that their championship history, marketing opportunities and financial flexibility would help them smack a few home runs. Yet, with Thursday marking the first day the NBA lifted its moratorium that allows free agents to sign their new contracts, it appears the Lakers have struck out on the heavy hitters. Or at least they have fallen behind in the count. The Lakers showed enough determination to acquire LeBron James that general manager Mitch Kupchak and senior vice president of Business Operations Tim Harris flew to Cleveland last week to meet with James’ agent. But it appears James will consider either re-signing with the Miami Heat or rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers after spurning them four years ago. Yet, after reportedly having a meeting on Wednesday with Heat president Pat Riley at his summer camp in Las Vegas, James has not announced his whereabouts.The Lakers hosted a 2 1/2-hour meeting last week for Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, whom accounts described as receptive toward the sales pitch. That entailed the Lakers talking about their 16 NBA titles, cap space, Kobe Bryant’s improved health and numerous business ventures for Anthony and his wife, La La, a reality television star. But a league source familiar with Anthony’s thinking reiterated on Thursday he has not decided where he will play next season. With the Knicks and Lakers both remaining uninformed on Anthony’s future, there is a growing sense he is simply waiting for James to make the first move. So, too, are legions of Cavaliers fans that parked outside James’ home in Ohio.The Lakers have become stuck between a rock that entails waiting for James and Anthony to announce their decision and a hard place that involves making rebuilding plans without them. The Lakers are holding out hope about the improbable chance they land either of those two stars, a move that would bolster their rebuilding process after finishing last season with the worst record in L.A. franchise history. Yet, the Lakers only have four players in Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Julius Randle under guaranteed contracts next season, leaving them with plenty of work to fill out the roster. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error It could become a difficult balancing act. Kupchak met with Pau Gasol on Wednesday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, according to a league source. Although that marked the second meeting the Lakers had with Gasol since free agency began on July 1, the Lakers’ forward has sparked interest elsewhere, including Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Chicago, Miami and New York. Gasol has affection for Bryant and the Lakers’ franchise ever since being acquired from Memphis in 2008. But assuming Anthony returns to the Knicks, Gasol would likely leave the Lakers. Gasol wants to join a championship contender, while the Lakers currently feature a 36-year-old Bryant and an injury-riddled Nash. The Lakers would likely pursue Detroit’s Greg Monroe, Cleveland’s Luol Deng, Indiana’s Lance Stephenson and Washington’s Trevor Ariza. But the Lakers do not want to sign any of these players beyond two years to ensure more money for free-agent classes in 2015 (Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge) and 2016 (Kevin Durant). That might not be attainable. Monroe may look for a max contract with the Pistons. Deng turned down last season a three-year, $30 million extension offer from Chicago. Stephenson recently declined a five-year, $44 million offer to stay with Indiana. Ariza, who helped the Lakers to a 2009 NBA championship, is reportedly seeking a four-year, $48 million deal. Meanwhile, the Lakers feel unsure whether Randle will play in their first summer-league game today against Toronto. The Lakers and Randle will not sign his contract until James and Anthony decide their future, the strategy securing the Lakers an additional $500,000 for James and Anthony in case they play here. Although the Lakers wished Randle could have fit in a practice, they remain flexible toward Randle playing today should he sign the contract at least an hour before the 3 p.m. PST tipoff.Then, the Lakers can only hope they will have more clarity on James and Anthony, an answer they hoped they would have had days ago.
Facebook67Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Port of OlympiaThe Thurston County Fair is better than ever with fabulous food, dizzying rides, arts and crafts, model railroads and children showing their animals in hopes of qualifying for state. Experience it July 31 through August 4.Port of Olympia is proud to again be a partner in the Fair. Stop by the Port booth to receive a souvenir and information.Battle of the Bands will take place on the Expo Stage. Elimination rounds occur on Thursday, August 1 and Friday, August 2. Final Battle will be held on Saturday, August 3.This year KACS is bringing a “double feature” concert to the fair on Sunday, August 4. Two headliners will perform, Land of Living Color and Bryan Duncan will take the stage at 4 p.m.Admission hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Daily parking is $5.Fair tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate. Ticket specials include:· One-Buck Wednesday, July 31: Admission is $1.00 with a non-perishable donation for the Thurston County Food Bank.· Kid’s Day, Thursday, August 1: Kids 14 and under pay only $2 admission.· Military Appreciation Day, Friday, August 2: Show military ID and pay only $2.Arm bands for Carnival rides are good Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Arm bands can be purchased in three ways:· Purchase by Tuesday, July 30, at the Fair office – $27.· Bring a buddy at time of purchase on Buddy Day, Thursday, August 1, to buy one Arm Band and get the second one for free – $30 total.· Purchase at the Carnival during Fair Week – $32.For more information visit the Thurston County Fair website.