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With the Cleveland Cavaliers well on their way to being defeated, if not swept, out of the NBA Finals, the rumor mill is chugging along regarding LeBron James.
With much hearsay and gossip being spread about a potential James move to the Lakers, the most concrete news came from Silver Screen & Roll’s Anthony Irwin who reported that Jeanie Buss and Maverick Carter, LeBron James’ business manager, have met multiple times in recent months.
The noise regarding James and the Lakers first started when ESPN’s Jalen Rose tossed the idea out during an episode of First Take. The Ringer’s Bill Simmons and Kevin O’Connor added another level to the gossip by talking about the matter on Simmons’ most recent podcast episode.
O’Connor doubled down on the notion with a more formal report of sorts, hashing out an article for The Ringer on Thursday where he dove into the idea that James could come to L.A.
The Lakers are in shambles now. They’re a bad team, period. They’ve won less than 28 percent of their games (91 out of 328) over the past four seasons. On the surface, they make little sense as a home for LeBron. But LeBron is one of the most cerebral athletes in history, on and off the court. If LeBron takes a longview, it’d be easy to see the Lakers’ existing potential. Once you factor in another year of development for their young core, add their draft pick this summer, toss in signing Paul George next summer, then add LeBron, suddenly it’s a roster with a blend of impact players on cheap contracts and veterans ready to win now. A mix of vets and youth is how to build sustainable winners in the NBA.
The Lakers aren’t ready yet. But if their young roster continues making strides and the necessary cap space is cleared, suddenly Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka could be only a few chess moves away from bringing back Showtime.
This isn’t the first time in recent times that the notion of LeBron coming to Los Angeles has been tossed about. ESPN reporter and Cavs beat writer Dave McMenamin, who covered the Lakers previously in his career, cited the possibility of LeBron coming to L.A on an episode of the Garbage Time podcast with Katie Nolan.
“I don’t think it’ll be this summer, but… LeBron says he wants to play with Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade. I don’t think that’s going to happen in Cleveland. I would say that would happen on one of those two teams in Los Angeles… But I think it will not be happening anytime soon.”
It’s important to note that much of what has been tossed about so far is more hearsay than reports. Simmons framed his podcast with O’Connor as a time where the two could toss around whispers they’ve heard around the league and talk about them. In the same podcast, they discussed Boston trading the No. 1 pick for Blake Griffin to add some context to their show.
Likewise, Rose has no history of breaking stories or reporting so his words should be taken with not just grains of salt, but cups of it.
However, the meetings between Buss and Carter do add some more substance to this. Carter has been James’ business manager since 2006 and is a lifelong friend of James dating back to their time together on St. Vincent-St Mary’s High School basketball team.
James does own a house in L.A. relatively close to Staples Center. He has also shown an interest in the film and TV industry, most notable as the producer of NBC’s “The Wall.” The Lakers’ interest in James dates back many years including during free agency in 2014. The timeline would match-up with the Lakers hopefully being playoff contenders, especially if they add Paul George along with James. George and James share a mutual respect for one another and George would be one of the best teammates James has played with.
As the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire. There’s a ton of smoke regarding James to the Lakers. Maybe James’ interest in Los Angeles is real. But there’s still a very long road and many dominos that would have to fall before this could be a remote possible.
Still, the idea of a roster with Lonzo Ball, D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, LeBron James and Paul George? Sign me up.