In the on again, off again saga that will likely be the next month-plus of NBA free agency rumors, the latest on the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James is not all that great for the purple and gold.
According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes on a podcast with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, the Lakers may be losing steam on the chase for James before free agency even starts.
“Houston has been linked a lot. I’ve been told that Philly of course, that’s legit. The Lakers are still in play but they’re not as hot as it was before, but you’re going to grant Magic Johnson a meeting. That’s just, you’re gonna do that. And you’re gonna listen. So they have things in play, the Lakers have been setting up for two years for this summer.
Then I’m going to throw out a dark horse: The Toronto Raptors. I’m gonna throw out the Toronto Raptors, and let’s not overlook the Boston Celtics. I think the Celtics are in that realm with Golden State, where if Boston reached out and said ‘We’re serious,’ LeBron would listen … The problem is, they have Kyrie Irving over there, so they have some explaining to do. That could be a little conundrum, but I think those are some of the real firm options out there, as well as re-signing with Cleveland.”
While the fact the Lakers have cooled off as a free agent destination may be discouraging, the fact the team will likely get a meeting is progress.
Considering that two summers ago, Kevin Durant gave the Lakers the cold shoulder, to see where the team stands now is a testament to the new front office of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka.
Given James’ off-court ventures and his desire to grow as a brand, there may not be another person better suited to talk about what he’s going through than Magic, meaning if the Lakers can simply get a foot in the door and sit down in front of James, it could bode well for the team.
This report comes on the heels of Adrian Wojnarowski stating that James and fellow free-agent-to-be Paul George will sit down and discuss teaming up with the Lakers this summer. The potential of George teaming up with James along with the potential of mentorship from Magic are reasons why the Lakers and LeBron could be a pairing that makes sense going forward.