While the Los Angeles Lakers made superb additions to the roster this offseason, Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and the front office have their eyes set on the 2018 free agency class. While already being linked to Paul George for quite some time, the Lakers are also interested in the possible addition of LeBron James.
James, who can opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers next summer, returns to an uncertain situation with his team. While the Kyrie Irving rumors continue to swirl, it seems less likely that James will return to a team with no future plan in store. Outlets have egged on the James to Los Angeles narrative, pointing out how his recently purchased home in Brentwood and how his children now attend school nearby.
It seems that NBA players are starting to believe the hype, with veteran Matt Barnes making his case during an appearance on ‘The Herd, With Colin Cowherd’. During the interview, Barnes suggested that the Lakers could be the ideal fit for James, in order to get a chance to work with Johnson on his post-playing career:
No better place. Yeah, no question. I think with him, he bought a big old house out in Brentwood. LA is the place to be. I heard he wants to be in management after and I think no better person in the game to help model and shape him than Magic Johnson.
With a no-trade clause in his contract, it is highly unlikely James would approve of any in-season deals the Cavaliers could have in mind. The 13-time All-Star would then be slated to become an unrestricted free agent, with an entire NBA market interested in the future Hall-of-Famer.
Barnes would also go on to hint at how the tides of the NBA would turn if the Lakers could land James, adding to the already dynamic plans they have in store:
Growing up being a Lakers fan even though I’m not a current Laker, you feel like the Lakers need to be up at the top just so that the NBA feels right. I mean I love what Golden State is doing and they’re an amazing team and they’re going to have a run for a while, but eventually you’d like to see the Lakers get back up there and with the young talent they have. You add this monster and it’s going to be trouble.”
From the get go, Johnson and Pelinka have stated that their main focus has been the 2018 offseason, with a chance to possibly sign two maximum deals to their roster. While the 2017-18 season is all about continued development, it will also provide the necessary attraction to free agents to see the growth of the franchise and young core.