LeBron James is set to decide where he will play the next chapter of his NBA career this offseason as he hits free agency. It is the first time since returning to Cleveland that the Cavaliers have been worried that they could lose their hometown hero. He has been connected to quite a few teams, but it appears that the Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers are the two teams he could sign with.
According to a report shared by RealGM, the Lakers have the "inside track" to sign James this offseason.
"This is a good day for the Los Angeles Lakers. It's a step forward for the Lakers. I believe the Lakers have the inside track for getting LeBron. If the Lakers can close the deal in that meeting, they have a great chance of stealing LeBron James away from the Cavaliers. This will be about more than just this summer's transaction. It will be a long-term decision. The Lakers have a lot more avenues to chase (the Warriors) down. I think the Lakers are the leaders for LeBron James."Los Angeles believes that they can build an immediate championship contender with James. They have also been connected to Kawhi Leonard this offseason and a trade seems like it could very well happen. If James signs, the Lakers would also have an even better sales pitch to throw at free agent Paul George.
Even at 34-years-old, James is the best player in the world and is playing even better than he has in recent years. He averaged 27.5 points, 9.1 assists, and 8.6 rebounds per game last season for the Cavaliers. Adding that to the Lakers would immediately make them a playoff team.James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals once again last season, but Cleveland was swept by the Golden State Warriors. Leaving for L.A. would be a sign that James doesn't think the Cavaliers have what it takes to contend for another ring.
There is still a chance that James could end up staying in Cleveland. That being said, signing with the Lakers to play alongside Leonard, Lonzo Ball, and whoever else the Lakers bring in would give him a better chance. Leonard would be the legitimate No. 2 scorer and lockdown defender that could guard Kevin Durant, while Ball is exactly the type of playmaking point guard that James likes to play with.
Free agency will open up on July 1 and James is expected to reach a decision by July 4. Those three days will feel like torture for both the Lakers and Cavaliers' fan bases.
Expect to hear plenty more about James throughout the next few days. It is not often that the best player in the world might change teams in the offseason and Los Angeles is the biggest market in basketball. James taking the Lakers back to title contention might end all debate about him being the best player of all-time.