LeBron James is expected to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers next summer and possibly sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Russell Westbrook, the reigning MVP, could also opt out of his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder and become a free agent. The latest rumors suggest that James and Westbrook could join forces in Los Angeles next summer.
According to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, many NBA executives are expecting James to opt out of his contract and enter free agency for the third time in his legendary career. The same executives also believe that “The King” has chosen his next team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
The rumors of LeBron James joining the Lakers got even more interesting when the four-time MVP was spotted school hunting in Sherman Oaks, California, according to Cavaliers Nation. James was seen at the Notre Dame High School on Tuesday. He has two boys, 12-year-old LeBron Jr. (aka Bronny) and 7-year-old Bryce Maximus.
If LeBron James is indeed going to Los Angeles, he will need to have a better roster around him. The 2018 free agency class is expected to be one of the biggest in history. Besides James, some of the biggest free agents next summer include Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant.
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report noted that LeBron James would love to play alongside Russell Westbrook in Los Angeles. Westbrook has a player option for next season and has been linked with the Lakers for the past three seasons. The reigning MVP is a native of Palmdale, California, and he played college ball at UCLA.
“Westbrook’s availability may be the most fleeting. Whispers around the NBA suggest James would love to team up with the explosive guard. How would teams defend two triple-double powerhouses like James and Westbrook?”
But one of the hindrances for the James-Westbrook partnership happening is the existing extension offer from the Thunder. Westbrook is still favored to sign the five-year, $207 million contract to remain in Oklahoma City, according to Royce Young of ESPN. However, Westbrook and his camp have made no decision regarding the deal at the moment, and Thunder fans are getting anxious.
Another hindrance is the Lakers will need to free up cap space around $65 million to $70 million in order to sign LeBron James and another superstar. It means that Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are going to have to find a taker for Luol Deng’s remaining contract. They will also have to sacrifice players like Jordan Clarkson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Julius Randle.
However, it should be noted that these are just rumors at the moment and nothing has been confirmed. The 2017-18 NBA season has not even started yet, and a lot of things could happen that might affect players and teams next summer.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]