The story of this offseason has been what will happen in the next offseason. The Los Angeles Lakers have very clearly opted to maximize cap space for 2018 when they will pursue multiple superstar free agents.
Among their rumored targets is LeBron James. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward is reported to be unhappy with the Cavs’ summer and having brought a championship to his home state, it’s been speculated that he would be willing to leave it, and team owner Dan Glibert, once again.
James’ potential destination has been the subject of plenty of discussion. The Lakers, as usual, have been the most widely reported team, with one report even indicating that Kyrie Irving’s trade request from Cleveland was a direct consequence of that knowledge. Thus far, the reports have indicated interest from James in signing with the Purple and Gold to potentially play alongside Paul George, Russell Westbrook, or other stars hoping to sign in LA.
On Saturday, however, we received the strongest claim to this report. According to Peter Vecsey (h/t RealGM), James is “definitively” signing with the Lakers in 2018:
“I’m publicly terminating the pandemic of speculation surrounding LeBron James’ playing plans past this season,” wrote Vecsey. “For months, many in the media declared or composed presumption the Lakers would be the beneficiaries of his talents when he became a free agent July 1, 2018. I’m eradicating all conjecture and uncertainty! I’m comfortable now in stating unequivocally, LeBron will leave the Cavaliers a second time and join the Lakers, and return the team to LA Lore status.”
This is the part where we tell you to take this report with a grain of salt. Vecsey is not necessarily a trusted voice in these matters, although he did break the news of the Pacers requesting the NBA to investigate the Lakers for tampering. He’s been known to make some false reports and he’s had a very public and strange feud with Magic Johnson for years. It’s important for us to give out all the information we see because it may lead to something but in September of 2017, it’s clear that we don’t truly know what LeBron’s plan is for July of 2018.