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Report: Many Around NBA Feel LeBron James ‘Likely’ to Join Lakers or Clippers Next Season
- Updated: June 14, 2017
A storyline that’s likely to continue to fester for the next year has Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James leaving the team to join either the Los Angeles Clippers or Los Angeles Lakers. The latest indications of that concept are remarks from Adrian Wojarowski of The Vertical, who indicated that the league-wide perception is that James will head West next year.
Speaking on his podcast on Wednesday, Wojnarowski said this:
“Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I’m not sure there’s an expectation he’s re-signing there. I think they feel, I think within Cleveland and around the league, they feel that he’s very much in play to leave again and likely head out West to one of the two L.A. teams. The Lakers could very well be a target.
“The possibility of Miami again, based on how they, what that team looks like and where they are. Would Dwyane Wade go back there?
“But I think the focus, a lot of LeBron’s – his business interests, his Hollywood aspirations, his media ventures are based out there.
“And I wrote this last year and said it and believed it: The minute he won that championship in Cleveland he was liberated to leave again. Now, if he had not won a title in Cleveland and then left again, I think there would be tremendous backlash again. But the fact that he came back and did what he set out to do, which was to bring a title to Cleveland.”
Wojnarowski continued making the case for a James departure:
“1. LeBron has hinted at having eyes for another team. He said he’d take a pay cut to play with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. If it weren’t already difficult to see that happening in Cleveland, Anthony said they’d want to go ‘someplace warm.’ Los Angeles certainly qualifies.
“2. LeBron seemingly enjoys the Los Angeles lifestyle. He owns a house there, as does his agent. LeBron has organized offseason workouts there for the Cavs.
“3. LeBron wants to keep the Cavaliers on their toes. His return came with terms – a financial commitment from Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Don’t spend enough, and LeBron could leave. Whether he actually would follow through, LeBron stands to make his Cleveland experience better by having the threat known.
“4. It’s fun. LeBron is the best player in the league, and the Lakers the NBA’s most popular team. The Clippers have newfound relevance and play in a large market. It’s just plain fun to speculate on the possibility and the upheaval it’d cause.”
Of course, just over a year remains before the beginning of the 2018 free-agency season begins. That relegates such comments to the rumor category, though it’s likely to raise the blood pressure of the Cavaliers front office.