Free Agency Rumor: Lebron James ‘likely’ to leave Cavaliers for Los Angeles in 2018

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Just days after his loss in the NBA Finals, Lebron James might have his eyes set on a new destination next summer. There have been rumors starting to swirl about James looking to bolt from Cleveland and join the Lakers, and while there have always been rumors of James coming to LA, the sources continue to pile up this time.

The early signs came last season when Dave McMenamin of ESPN talked about this possibility of joining his banana boat buddies in LA on 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.”

Then recently the news has started to build a little steam when Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer reported that Lebron could wind up playing in Staples Center once his contract expires in 2018. Of course, this could be for either the Lakers or the Clippers. Anthony Irwin of Silver Screen & Roll also added to this when he reported that Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Maverick Carter, James’ business manager, have met “at least three times in the last few months”.

Now, we have the biggest break of them all. Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical broke some new information on his latest podcast that this might not be the pipe-dream most think. (Sorry, JR Smith)

Transcript via Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll:

“Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I’m not sure there is an expectation he’s re-signing there. I think within Cleveland and around the league they feel that he is very much in play to leave again and likely head out West to one of the two LA teams. The Lakers could very well be a target.”

Woj goes on to make a few points on why James would be interested in leaving his hometown for the second time to play in Los Angeles.

“I think the focus, a lot of LeBron’s business interests, his Hollywood aspirations, his media ventures are base out there, and I wrote this last year and said it and believed it: The minute he won that championship in Cleveland he was liberated to leave again. Now if he had not won a title in Cleveland and left again, I think there would be tremendous backlash again. But the fact that he came back and did what he set out to do, which was bring a title to Cleveland (could allow him to leave).”

James is a guy who is certainly interested in the lifestyle Los Angeles has to offer with a house near Staples Center, and a producing job on NBC’s “The Wall”, he could be willing to make that move full-time in 2018. Los Angeles is the pinnacle of television, film, and media so this could prove to be an enticing situation for Lebron.

As of right now, the Lakers have about $47 million on the books for the 2018 season and Magic Johnson has stated that the front office looks at next year’s free agent class as their target. If the Lakers are able to preserve their cap space this offseason and head into the summer of Paul George and Lebron James, things might start to become even more of a possibility. But there is still quite a bit of time between now and then, things can change, and the Lakers have a ton of work ahead of them if this were to happen. Though, the age old saying “where there is smoke, there’s often a fire” should give Laker fans some hope for Lebron donning the purple and gold.

Author: Dillon Hiser