Forget Houston. Could Chris Paul and LeBron James join forces in Los Angeles with the Lakers?
If LeBron does wind up going to the Lakers in NBA free agency this July, he will for sure have to have some guarantee that the Lakers will be bringing in veteran help around him – and it certainly will have to be better help than the likes of Kevin Love and George Hill.
The Lakers have the most favorable salary cap situation in the NBA right now with only $34.5 million in guaranteed salary set to go out next season. Being able to sign two top of the line players in free agency this summer has long been the goal of Lakers bosses Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, but it will likely take more than just Paul George as a running mate for LeBron to choose the Lakers. This is where the Lakers, and LeBron would have to get creative.
When LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all teamed up in Miami eight years ago – all three players left around $15 million on the table. LeBron, Paul and potentially Chris Paul would all have to make similar concessions this time around.
New York Times writer Marc Stein wrote this week that Chris Paul’s recruitment of LeBron to Houston had already started, but given that Paul will be a free agent as well – the two could wind up bypassing the Rockets, who are cash-strapped compared to the Lakers.
LeBron has already said that he wants to play with Paul (and Carmelo Anthony) before his career is over.
“I really hope that, before our careers are over, we can all play together,” LeBron said in March 2016. “At least one (year), maybe one or two seasons – me, Melo, D-Wade, CP – we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that.”
This summer will provide – likely – the final opportunity for that union to take place. The question now is, will that union take place with the Rockets, or Lakers?