With LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers on the brink of losing the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, the topic of conversation will soon shift to his free agency. Come July 1, James will easily be the most sought-after NBA free agent.
This summer’s pool of top-end talent isn’t particularly deep, as it only includes James and Paul George. DeMarcus Cousins is somewhat of a factor as well, but a season-ending Achilles injury figures to impact his free agency.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who boast more salary cap space than any other team, are expected to pursue both James and George. While they can sign both players to max contracts, other teams face the challenge of being limited to possibly only adding one of the two.
Recent reports have indicated the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers are teams in that position.
As for strictly James, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith named the Boston Celtics, Cavaliers, Lakers and Warriors among the seven teams that will be involved for James:
These are the 7 teams in the mix for LeBron James. pic.twitter.com/XfqwUKTwBI
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 8, 2018
During a segment on ESPN’s “First Take” this week, Smith previously reported James would have discussions with the Warriors, though he didn’t consider them a likely landing spot.
The Lakers’ reported interest in James dates back multiple years, but they’ve often been on the outside looking in when he’s held free agency meetings. That should change this year, as the organization now has an intriguing young core in place and a front office headed by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.
But as much as the Lakers are expected to make a significant splash in free agency, Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have stressed the organization will remain mindful of the 2019 class. And when it comes to this summer, there’s a stronger sense George will wind up being the Lakers’ big signing.
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