All signs continue to point toward LeBron James signing with the Lakers when NBA free agency begins in July, but other teams will surely try and persuade LeBron to come to their city between now and then.
It sure seems as though the Cavaliers believe hope is not lost on LeBron re-upping with them, as they are looking to swing a deal for Kawhi Leonard. The prospect of a LeBron - Kawhi combo in Cleveland is intriguing for several reasons. LeBron is said to desperately want to keep his NBA Finals appearance streak intact, and even though the Celtics and Sixers will be better next season – getting back to the Finals will still be a whole lot easier in the East than the West. LeBron’s best move – if he truly cares about that streak – would be to re-sign in Cleveland on a one-year deal and see if he can make magic with Kawhi. Kawhi will surely also test free agency next season, so this would be a total rental – but the Cavaliers at this point just don’t want the LeBron gravy train to end. They’d gladly take one more year of true contention with LeBron right now, with the downside being five years of sucktitude on the back-end.
All that said, expect the Cavs to be outbid when it comes to a Kawhi trade. Boston and Philadelphia – two teams that have been mentioned as Kawhi suitors – both have considerably more assets than Cleveland, which could only really temp the Spurs with the No. 10 pick in this week’s NBA Draft and possibly Kevin Love.
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In the end – as we’ve said all along - the lure of Los Angeles will likely be too much for LeBron, and there has been considerable smoke blowing in that direction for quite some time. Last week, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss sent out the following tweet while in New York City at the same time LeBron was.
Do not ever underestimate— Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss) June 14, 2018
Nothing else to say
The Lakers primary competition in the LeBron sweepstakes in the West is Houston, but there have been recent conflicting reports about his perceived love for South East Texas. Late last week, we had writer Ross Bolen reporting that LeBron was in Houston taking a look at private high schools. This came immediately after Akron Beacon Journal columnist Marla Ridenour said she heard straight from LeBron’s mouth that he “does not like Houston as a city.”
Then there is the whole mess of the Rockets having to trade half their team to try and fit LeBron under their salary cap.
With two weeks to go until decision time it has become clear that the Lakers are in the lead for LeBron, and are actually pulling away from the field.