NBA free agency began in disappointing fashion for the Los Angeles Lakers as they didn’t so much as receive a meeting with hometown product Paul George before he decided to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the max four years and $137 million.
For the past year, George was presumed to be a lock to sign with the Lakers, who also were positioning themselves to chase after LeBron James. But in the final days leading up to free agency, the Lakers’ standing with both players seemingly reversed.
As it became more and more evident George would remain in Oklahoma City, James, once viewed a long shot to bolt for Los Angeles, emerged as a likely option for the storied franchise.
He reportedly spoke with the Cleveland Cavaliers minutes into free agency, and is being pursued by the likes of the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.
While the process continues to unfold, James remains highly interested in signing with the Lakers, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
James’ interest in joining the Lakers is strong, sources told cleveland.com.
The assumption that James wouldn’t sign with the Lakers unless a second star was also in place may soon be put to the test. Though, rather than pair him with George, the Lakers might now form a duo headlined by James and DeMarcus Cousins.
A trade for Kawhi Leonard also remains possible, and Leonard reportedly reached out to James to discuss becoming teammates. It’s unclear if or when the Lakers might have a meeting with the 14-time All-Star, if they haven’t already.
Reports Sunday morning indicated James’ representatives were due to sit down with the Philadelphia 76ers.
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