LeBron James will be donning the famed purple and gold after this coming NBA season, according to a popular sports columnist.
Peter Vecsey, a basketball analyst who writes for the New York Post and Patreon, reported that LeBron is 100 percent leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers after the 2017-18 NBA season. Vecsey, one of the more controversial figures in the field of sportswriting, also said that James will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, adding more fuel to the fire that LeBron is looking at the City of Angels as his next home.
“Accordingly, I’m publicly terminating the pandemic of speculation surrounding LeBron James’ playing plans next season,” Vecsey started. “For months, many in the media declared or composed presumption the Lakers would be 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.”
James has yet to speak out about the ongoing rumors. Vecsey’s bold pronouncement, therefore, will remain a rumor for now. However, analysts see that scenario coming to fruition as clues have been pointing to James playing for the Lakers.
The most recent hint that James prefers L.A. was when he and his wife, Savannah, visited Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. LeBron apparently wanted to get a workout done, so he dropped by the school gym unannounced. What made the trip more interesting is that the couple went around the campus before LeBron headed to the gym. This led to speculation that the two were checking out L.A. schools for their children.
There were also reports that Savannah prefers to reside in Los Angeles. The James family already has a home in L.A., plus LeBron conducts most of his businesses there so this rumor is not far-fetched. James also once called L.A. “home.”
Bleacher Report believes that the future of the Cleveland organization is up in the air. James is not the only Cavs player who may leave after this coming season. Recent acquisitions Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, and Jeff Green will become unrestricted free agents in 2018. Serviceable big man Channing Frye can also sign elsewhere in the offseason, while Iman Shumpert can opt out of his contract.
If James and the other impending and potential free agents leave, the only big name left on the Cavaliers roster will be Kevin Love. But even Love may be gone soon since he will also have the right to opt out of his contract in 2019.
One of the most common dilemmas among NBA franchises is the risk that comes regarding players with expiring contracts. A team can make sure an impending free agent stays with them by offering an extension. In most cases, however, the free agent prefers to wait things out and test the market.
The Cavaliers may be forced to trade him for something before they lose him for nothing. The latter scenario has happened a number of times before with the cases of Gordon Hayward and Kevin Durant, among the most recent examples. However, the Cavs have already indicated that they have “no plans” to move Love.
As for the Lakers, they will instantly become a championship contender if James decides that L.A. is the best fit for him, his talents, and his family. The dominoes will start falling once LeBron confirms he’s planning to move to Hollywood or stay in Cleveland.
NBA players will certainly want to join the Lakers with LeBron on board. With Paul George more likely than not a Laker after the season, the future will certainly be bright for the popular NBA club. A frontcourt of James and George, plus a young backcourt featuring Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram will surely be a great starting argument for the Lakers as they woo free agents in the near future.
[Featured Image by Danny Moloshok/AP Images]