Rumors about LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers will not end until the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar signs a new contract in the offseason. James could become a free agent after the 2017-18 NBA season if he decides to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers.
It is an open secret that the Lakers want to sign James and another superstar this summer. Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes the Lakers has a strong chance to acquire the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player in free agency. Buckley actually predicted that James will be a Laker starting next season.
Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer said earlier this month that James has a short list of possible destinations. O'Connor said that most of his sources are saying that James will pick from the Cavaliers, Lakers, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers in the offseason.
Returning to Cleveland is not a surprising option because of his deep ties with the city. The Rockets can give James the chance to play with good friend Chris Paul and compete for a championship together. The 76ers, on the other hand, have a strong core of young players, who are eager to learn from James.
Like the 76ers, the Lakers also have a young core, which is slowly showing their potential as of late. The franchise also has a rich history and is on a big market. These are among the reasons why Buckley is convinced that the opportunity to don the purple and gold jersey "might be too tempting to pass up" for James.
Aside from their attractive young core and rich history, the Lakers could also give James a chance to compete for a title in the remaining years of his career with another superstar on his side. The Lakers managed to create cap room for two max players when they traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
Adding James and another superstar to the Lakers will instantly make them a serious contender next season. According to Buckley, George could be the next sidekick of James. He also predicted that the superstar forward will leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Lakers.
George has been very vocal about his interest in making a Los Angeles homecoming this summer. He will likely pick between Los Angeles and Oklahoma City, but Buckley is convinced that the 27-year-old forward would only consider staying with the Thunder if they go deep into the playoffs. It would be tall order, though, because they would need to beat the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, the top teams in the league at this point in the season.