For more than a year the Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly worked to position themselves to pursue two max-level 2018 NBA free agents. To no surprise, LeBron James and Paul George are believed to be at the top of their and other teams’ wish lists.
The Lakers have long been speculated as a favorite to sign George, who made it clear to the Indiana Pacers last summer of his desire to return to his Southern California roots. Where James will ultimately settle is much more of an unknown.
Working in the Lakers’ favor this summer is they boast the most salary cap space available. In theory, they are capable of signing both James and George, or any other combination of two max-contract players this summer.
While speaking on ESPN’s “NBA Draft: On the Clock” show Tuesday evening, Adrian Wojnarowski said there’s an expectation James and George will discuss the possibility of signing with the Lakers:
“The most intriguing scenario remains him partnering with LeBron James on Los Angeles. Because Paul George alone doesn’t make them a championship contender. But partnering with LeBron walking in the door, as Bobby (Marks) said earlier, there’s a fairly easy pathway for the Lakers to get that salary cap space. That’s going to be a conversation or conversations those guys are going to have once we get to July.”
Although George has regularly been linked to the Lakers, there’s a belief the Oklahoma City Thunder are hardly out of the running for his services. George had nothing but praise for the organization after they were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.
James’ camp reportedly doesn’t consider any of the potential options as viable or ideal. In addition to the Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, the Philadelphia 76ers are often mentioned as a likely suitor.
James’ reported desire to play off ball next season would make the Lakers and 76ers ideal fits on paper. Though, Philadelphia’s front office turmoil and investigation into Bryan Colangelo may have hindered their chances to sign James.
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