The Los Angeles Lakers have been searching for a new superstar to lead their team, and now it looks like they might have a shot at one of the greatest basketball players of all time. While most of the rumor mill’s attention has gone to Indiana Pacer Paul George coming back home to California, it appears that Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James may be in the mix as well.
Currently, James is coming up short against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. He is performing at an incredible level, but the Warriors are absolutely loaded with talent and they have a commanding 3-0 series lead.
A recent piece by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer suggests that while James may have returned home to Cleveland a few years ago, he may be bound for Los Angeles soon:
Rumblings across the league suggest that LeBron will consider taking his talents out west, as Bill Simmons and I discussed this week on The Bill Simmons Podcast. The LeBron noise echoes what The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote last year: With a Finals victory for Cleveland secure, James could get to “run off with his buddies again somewhere warm.”
Multiple league sources I’ve spoken to think the Lakers or Clippers are viable destinations for King James. Jalen Rose said this week on First Take that he expects LeBron to make a move from Cleveland to California, where he already owns a house 30 minutes away from Staples Center. The Lakers make sense if LeBron wants to build a sustainable winner with a core blend of veterans and youthful talent like Paul George — if, as NBA gossip suggests, George truly is “hell-bent” on going to L.A. — and Brandon Ingram.
As O’Connor notes, James already owns a home a short distance from the Staples Center, and he certainly would prefer a Southern California winter to the one that he gets in Cleveland. While the Lakers aren’t a good team currently, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have a number of young pieces to work with, which means they could turn things around quickly if they decide to cash in some chips.
In order to land both George and James, the Lakers would have to find a way to free up some cap space. Even a max offer to George would require some moves to be made, so bringing in James as well would almost certainly require that Los Angeles find new homes for Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, which would be no easy task.
For now, take this rumor with a grain of salt, but if the Lakers could add James, even at 33 years old next summer, as well as Paul George, they would instantly become title contenders once again.