LeBron James may already be planning his next superteam, with growing rumors around the NBA that the Cavaliers star is headed to Los Angeles next season and hoping to bring Paul George and Russell Westbrook with him.
It is something of an open secret that the coming season will be LeBron’s final one in Cleveland, with several months of reports that he plans to head to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. While LeBron had never spoken publicly about the reports, those close to James say the decision has already been made. NBA analyst Peter Vecsey wrote on his Patreon page that LeBron is 100 percent certain to depart the Cleveland Cavaliers after the coming season, and other reports noted that LeBron and his wife are already scoping out schools for their children in L.A.
But the latest NBA rumors signal that it may be more than just LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported that both Paul George and Russell Westbrook could opt to join LeBron in L.A. after they become free agents next season.
That could explain behind-the-scenes drama between Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The All-Star guard had an option to sign a designated veteran player extension with the Thunder that would make him the league’s highest-paid player, ESPN noted, but Westbrook has not yet signed it. Instead, Westbrook has “bounced between Los Angeles and Oklahoma City” over the summer and not committed publicly to taking the offer, the ESPN report added.
Westbrook has until the day before the NBA season starts on October 16 to decide. Should Westbrook forgo the deal, it could be a strong sign that he will test free agency after this season and could add fuel to the NBA rumors that he is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Likewise, Paul George made it very clear that he plans to sign with the Lakers after this season; to the point that the Lakers were hit with a $500,000 tampering fine for reportedly making contact with George.
The reports have been clear on how active James has been in speaking with George or Westbrook, but in the past, LeBron has been known to be very active in recruiting players around the league. Some NBA writers have speculated that James may be the driving force behind the plans for a new superteam in Los Angeles, but there is not yet any solid evidence to support that idea.
While there is no official word from LeBron James on what he will do next season, the NBA rumors about his joining the Los Angeles Lakers will likely only grow louder as the season wears on, especially if he does not make any public commitments to stay with Cleveland.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]