While the 2017 free agency class is filled with some All-Stars, the 2018 free agency class is set up to be a premiere attraction. LeBron James, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook are the top draws, with many other franchise-altering players still available.
This ensuing free agency period also sets up an interesting 2017-18 NBA season, as teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers have to consider their long-term outlook and their closing championship window. Although the Clippers are currently dealing with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, they are also thinking ahead towards the 2018 free agency class.
The Clippers seem dead set on signing James to join Paul and their core, a central figure behind the Jerry West signing. However, it appears as though James’ inner circle has already shot down any rumor regarding the Clippers, via Mike Wise of The Undefeated:
“I got from a very good authority, a very good authority, that LeBron James will never be a Clipper.
“I can’t tell you who, but I’m going to tell you it’s somebody that knows, and LeBron James will never be a Clipper.
The Los Angeles Lakers are also a rumored destination alongside the Clippers, with James favoring moving to the city of Los Angeles. With only one-year remaining on his deal with the Cavaliers, and the ongoing dilemma regarding the Cavaliers front office, James has turned into a realistic free agency draw.
The rumors regarding the Lakers started swirling when recent No. 2 draft pick Lonzo Ball pitched a recruitment draw for James. If James were to consider joining another team outside of the Cavaliers, it would likely be the final piece toward a championship contender.
The Lakers would likely first need to acquire Paul George as a possible pitch towards James, with Magic Johnson serving as the mediator. However, this has to be a big blow to owner Steve Balmer and the Clippers.