There are no shortage of suitors for LeBron James as he tests the free agent waters this summer. James has been linked to the Lakers since last summer. The Lakers will have the most cap space of any team this off-season, giving them the ability to come close to signing two max contracts in free agency.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported there is a feeling around the league that the Lakers have a legitimate chance to sign James.
Several possible factors in LeBron’s decision-making process have been raised by league sources: a place to raise his family; a place where he will have the best shot at winning more championships; a place where he can begin setting up his post-playing career and dip into the world of entertainment and team ownership.
The Lakers, more than any other team in the league, sit at the nexus of all the reasons LeBron would want to join a franchise.
James fueled rumors even more when he recently purchased his second Los Angeles home, both in the Brentwood neighborhood. James has long been interested in entertainment and business ventures. While he does not need to be in Los Angeles to continue these efforts, being located in the entertainment capital of the world would not hurt.
The Lakers do not offer the same kind of dynamic roster as teams like the Sixers and Rockets. What Los Angeles can offer is ultimate flexibility for James to choose another free agent like Paul George or Chris Paul to join him in Los Angeles. Even without another superstar joining James in free agency, the current Lakers roster is arguably more desirable than the one James has in Cleveland. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are all key young building blocks that could partner with James.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported the Lakers are one of seven teams that James will consider this summer. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Lakers still plan to attempt to bring both James and George together.
According to OddsShark, the Lakers are a slight favorite in Vegas to sign James at +200 just in front of the Rockets at +220. As for James, he has been mostly quiet about his future. James has only said that his family and winning will be the top priorities when he makes his decision.
“My family. That’s all that matters,” James told cleveland.com. “I want to continue to win at the highest level, because I know I can still do it as an individual, and then my family. My family is what’s most important to me, more than anything.”
Fans can read that a lot of different ways, but his family does appear to enjoy being in Los Angeles as the multiple houses indicate. After the finals ended, James declined to discuss specifics about his future. James did note that his children are a lot older than the last time he made a free agent decision, and admitted that will be factored into his decision.