Multiple NBA superstars are expected to be on the move this offseason. After a season filled with drama and frustrations, the departure of Kawhi Leonard in the San Antonio Spurs is inevitable, and the disgruntled superstar reportedly wants to be traded in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, LeBron James, who is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers to become an unrestricted free agent, also has an idea where he wants to play next season.
According to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, sources reportedly told him that Houston Rockets superstar Chris Paul has started telling people that LeBron James isn’t trying to come to Houston because he “wants to be in Los Angeles.” Though there are currently two NBA teams situated in Los Angeles, the Clippers and the Lakers, most people believe that James and Leonard prefer to wear the purple and gold next season.
The Lakers are currently in a strong position to add both superstars to their team this summer. They have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal with the Spurs for Leonard and enough salary cap space to give James a maximum contract. As of now, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka must be starting to do something to make the Leonard-James Lakers tandem happen next season.
If Smith’s sources are accurate, Chris Paul might also be looking to consider Los Angeles as a potential free agency destination in July. Paul is also set to become an unrestricted free agent. Since the Rockets got eliminated in the Western Conference Finals, the 33-year-old point guard has expressed his strong desire to play with LeBron James in Houston.
Unfortunately, the Rockets don’t have enough salary cap space to give James a max deal. To make things more complicated, Paul made it clear that he’s not willing to give the Rockets a discount in free agency. Giving James and Paul a huge payday is still a possibility for the Rockets, but it will force them to part ways with last season’s key contributors like Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, and Trevor Ariza. They will also need to trade future draft picks to get rid of Ryan Anderson’s contract.
It’s not hard to imagine seeing the “Big Three” of Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, and Chris Paul in Los Angeles next season. Once they establish a good chemistry, they will definitely be a huge headache to any powerhouse teams in the league, even to the back-to-back NBA champions, Golden State Warriors. Still, lots of things can happen from now until free agency finally starts in July.