Lakers Rival Teased as Next Stop for LeBron James Amid Rumors

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James is contemplating retirement but the Los Angeles Lakers star could also be envisioning a new home.

James delivered some cryptic comments about his future after getting swept by the Denver Nuggets and is indeed weighing retirement, per a report from Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.

The idea of James stepping away from the game sent shockwaves through the NBA world, but on the surface, it makes sense. He’s 38 years old, has become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, has dealt with some injuries and really has nothing else left to prove.

But many saw the retirement talk as a way for James to gain leverage over the Lakers’ front office, whether that be through roster moves he desires or even a trade. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer identified the Golden State Warriors as a team that James could want to land with.

“How soon until Draymond Green begins recruiting LeBron to the Warriors? Did it happen as soon as LeBron stepped off the podium Monday night? Will it happen before the Finals begin next Thursday? No one needs a source to tell you those conversations will happen if they haven’t already, given Draymond’s love for LeBron, the Klutch connection, and his history of recruiting,” O’Connor wrote. “Interest between LeBron and the Warriors could be mutual. LeBron is BFFs with Draymond and he’s already said that Steph Curry is the current player he’d most like to play with.”

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James and the Warriors core have been bitter rivals but there’s a clear respect between the sides, especially at this point in their careers. James’ Lakers were able to bounce the Warriors from the postseason in the Western Conference semifinals, winning the series in six games.

James has said previously that the Warriors would be the team he’d want to join if he left the Lakers, citing Green as a reason.

“I like the way Draymond talks to guys. I would love to get into a pissing match with Draymond,” James said on “The Shop.” “I love when somebody cuss me the f–k out if I’m not doing my [job]. I would love that with Draymond.”

And from a skill set standpoint, James having some 3-point snipers around him like Curry and Klay Thompson would be ideal.

“The union of Steph and LeBron seems like a match made in heaven, particularly as they enter the twilight of their careers,” O’Connor wrote. “James could position himself to rack up more championships alongside another legend, and a former rival, in one of the greatest collaborations the NBA has ever seen.”

PointsBet put out odds on James’ next team and the Warriors were among the top contenders. The Lakers led the way at -700, followed by the Cavaliers (+1,200) and Warriors (+1,500). James retiring came in at +500.

Lakers Giving LeBron James Time to Make Decision

The Lakers aren’t pressing the issue with James. He’s fresh off a long, rollercoaster season and the team understands that he has things he has to sort out before making any kind of decision. Of course, LA’s preference would be that he sticks around, continuing to be the centerpiece of the franchise.

“LeBron has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who’s ever played. When you do that, you earn the right to decide if you want to give more,” general manager Rob Pelinka said on Tuesday. “Obviously, our hope would be that his career continues.”

The Lakers have some complex roster decisions to make this offseason. They want to keep their core together but only James, Anthony Davis and Max Christie have guaranteed contracts for next season.

The Lakers might also investigate a significant move, like landing Kyrie Irving. It’s a move that would please James, who has expressed a desire to play with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate.

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