The rumors surrounding LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency next summer have been plentiful in recent months, with the Los Angeles Lakers believed to be his prime destination if he decides to leave.
Kyrie Irving was perhaps the first to know it could happen, as he demanded to be traded from the Cavaliers, and his wish was recently granted as he was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first round pick from the Brooklyn Nets.
The Cavaliers acquiring a pick to help rebuild for the future signals that they might also believe James is leaving, as they are beginning to prepare for a life without him.
The Lakers would be a prime destination for James for many reasons, but Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report recently outlined that top three after talking to league executives that believe James is headed for Los Angeles:
With all that in mind, league executives not only expect James to leave but have circled his destination—the Los Angeles Lakers—for a host of reasons. The top three are:
• Setting up his post-playing career in TV and movie production.
• Attempting the unique feat of leading three different teams to a championship.
• Creating a path to an ownership stake in the Lakers.
As Bucher points out, James has already founded a Los Angeles-based production company and his two childhood friends Rich Paul and Maverick Carter, who now serve as James’ agent and business manager, respectively, have recently moved to Los Angeles.
Additionally, no superstar has ever led three teams to a championship, so James would become the first if he came to the Lakers and brought the historic franchise their 17th championship banner.
The Lakers could potentially have enough cap space to sign two max caliber players next summer, so if they are able to bring in James and Paul George, who is also rumored to want to sign with the Lakers in 2018, they can pair them with young stars Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to form a very formidable core to build around.
A lot of James’ decision could depend on how Cleveland does this season and if they make any moves to commit to competing for championships long-term, so it will be something to keep an eye on this upcoming season.