LeBron James and his wife Savannah were spotted in Los Angeles visiting a private high school in what could be the biggest sign yet that the NBA superstar is looking to hook up with the Lakers after this coming NBA season. James could be a part of the newest Big Three with speculations that Oklahoma City teammates Paul George and Russell Westbrook may want to come home and play together in Los Angeles in 2018.
LeBron and Savannah were in Los Angeles early this week, particularly at the Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. LeBron supposedly dropped by unannounced around 6 p.m. to get some workout done at the popular L.A. school. The James couple walked around the campus before LeBron hit the gym.
James later thanked Note Dame High School for letting him train after spending the day shooting commercials. LeBron posted a video in which he said that the students who were there at the gym weren’t aware that he was coming.
“Special shoutout to the kids, to the faculty, to the alum, much respect, I appreciate it,” James said. “We got an opportunity to allow a couple of the students and the kids tonight to actually watch me train, watch me workout, and hopefully I inspire you guys tonight.”
There are speculations that LeBron is using the guise of visiting high school gyms to get a work out to hide the fact that he and Savannah are looking for a school for the James kids. LeBron Jr. or Bronny, in particular, is a high school basketball standout and James may be looking for the right environment for his son to excel in his sport and academics.
James can opt out of his current contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers allowing the 32-year-old to sign elsewhere. Rumors are rampant that James has grown disgruntled with Cavs management, especially after owner Dan Gilbert let go of David Griffin, the former general manager of the team. The Cavs also haven’t been that aggressive in the off-season, which apparently does not bode well with James. The team did trade away one of their superstars.
Kyrie Irving is no longer part of the Cavs after he asked for a trade citing the need to play a more major role. In other words, Irving didn’t want to be in James’ shadow anymore. Kyrie got his wish and was sent to the Boston Celtics in exchange for an injured Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the much coveted first round pick originally from the Brooklyn Nets.
James may not get to play with next year’s potential number one NBA draft pick. If LeBron opts out, the Lakers are a strong contender for his services. James owns a home in L.A., particularly in Brentwood. This is the same home that was vandalized with a racist slur before last season’s NBA Finals. Savannah has also said before that she prefers to live in Los Angeles.
Another possible hint that James is taking his talent to Los Angeles is the rumor that his agent, Rich Paul, had talks with the Lakers. Lakersnation.com reporter Serene Winters tweeted back in July that Paul contacted Rob Pelinka and told him, “Let’s talk.” It is possible, however, that the two talked about other players in Paul’s stable such as Eric Bledsoe, who’s been mentioned in trade rumors.
The Lakers management has freed up cap space enough to sign a couple of max players. One of those contracts may go to Paul George, who’s been vocal about playing for his hometown Lakers. The Lakers need George to sign with them to help bring back the luster of playing for the Purple and Gold and to attract other NBA superstars to the team. Getting George will also erase the embarrassment of getting fined $500,000 for tampering. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson admitted that, while they did nothing wrong, they “did cross a line” with regards to George. Johnson offered to pay off the fine by having Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss take the amount off his salary.
If Los Angeles can get rid of Luol Deng’s huge contract, the Lakers may have enough to lure another big name to the fold. To do that, the Lakers need Deng to resurrect his game the same way Nick Young turned a good year into a $5.2 million contract and a shot at an NBA championship with the Warriors. The Lakers may also have to unload a draft pick or another player in order for another team to take on Deng’s contract. The Chicago Bulls have been rumored to be a possible taker. The rumor says Dwyane Wade may join the Lakers in exchange for Deng and Jordan Clarkson. If that rumored trade pushes through, James will have one more reason to pack his bags for Los Angeles. James and Wade won championships with the Miami Heat and they may want to rekindle their partnership in L.A.
Another big name player that the Lakers can lure with the possible additional cap space is Russell Westbrook. The NBA MVP has yet to sign an extension with the Thunder fueling rumors that Westbrook is planning to play elsewhere or is at least weighing his options. The recent rumor is that Westbrook may join George in Los Angeles.
Oklahoma City’s acquisition of George may work in different ways. If Westbrook and George play well enough together, there’s the possibility that Paul re-signs with the Thunder and Russell signs that extension. There’s also a chance that Westbrook and George will bring their chemistry to Los Angeles to play for their hometown Lakers or even the Clippers. Of course, Westbrook can still stay with Oklahoma City while George bolts for the Lakers or any other NBA team.
James previously stated that he “would love” to play with Westbrook. This may mean that the three NBA superstars may all end up with the Lakers or this could be James simply complimenting Westbrook’s game.
[Featured Image by Jeff Roberson/AP Images]