Even though he came up short in the 2017 NBA Finals, LeBron James is still considered by most to be the best player in the league right now. He delivered a championship to Cleveland last year, but now there are questions about how long he’ll stay there.
There have been recent rumors floating that James is eyeing a move out West once his contract expires in 2018, possibly to join up with his friends Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade.
Adrian Wojnarowski spoke on the rumor on his podcast, The Vertical Podcast with Woj, and says that James is likely to join either the Lakers or Clippers once his deal with Cleveland is up (transcription via Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk):
“Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I’m not sure there’s an expectation he’s re-signing there. I think they feel, I think within Cleveland and around the league, they feel that he’s very much in play to leave again and likely head out West to one of the two L.A. teams. The Lakers could very well be a target.”
James recently purchased a home that is mere miles away from Staples Center which has only fueled these rumors. Whether he would actually leave Cleveland a second time is the big question mark.
He did accomplish his goal of delivering them a championship which might soften the blow to fans should he leave.
James joining the Lakers as is would seem to be a long shot as they currently don’t have anyone who would be considered a definite future star, though Brandon Ingram is promising. Of course, both Paul George and Russell Westbrook will be free agents in 2018 so potentially adding James and one of them would instantly make the Lakers a contender.
If LeBron were to go to the Clippers, the belief is that he would do so to team with his friends Paul, Wade, and possibly Carmelo Anthony.
There is also the question of how much longer James will be playing. Though he has shown no signs of slowing down, he has been in the league for 14 years and has a lot of miles on his body.
The summer of 2018 already looked like a very important one, and now it will be even more interesting to watch.