We reported in June of 2017 that LeBron James was probably leaving Cleveland, possibly for a Hollywood destination. James owns property in LA, hes getting deeper in his film and movie production pursuits and theres worse options than being the face of the NBAs glamour franchise for the final years of an iconic career.
It doesn’t look like any championship runs are going down in Cleveland these days anyway.
Since Paul George was on the Pacers, everybody knew he wanted to eventually make his way home to California and play for Magic Johnson and The Lake Show. That opportunity will be there for him shortly. James and George can each utilize a player option in their contracts to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
Lakers President Magic Johnson, who has vowed to lead LA its first post-Kobe title, is apparently planning to go for the gusto and try and sign both All-stars during the 2018 free agent period.
Lakers still planning to target both LeBron James and Paul George, per @wojespn https://t.co/j8JY6WkWRA
“The Lakers plan hasn’t changed. They want to get both of them,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Thursday, per ESPN Los Angeles.
L.A. general manager Rob Pelinka bragged to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated about how much salary cap flexibility the Lakers have and it fits in perfectly with Magics master plan to change the fortune of the franchise overnight after missing the playoffs for five-straight seasons.
That’s the beauty of it,” he said. “Whatever the road becomesIs it two max guys this summer? Is it one this summer and one the next? Is it splitting up the space and just growing this young core?it’s a good road to be on.”
Following today’s trade, the Lakers could now have up to $70M in salary cap space this summer, enough to sign BOTH LeBron James and Paul George to max contracts.
Securing George and/or Bron would be a huge boost to LA, who has a young core of guys with major upside in Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but bagging both players is the kind of move that can change a franchises fortunes.
PG and Lebron will be the two most prominent free agents and locking them down would make Staples Center the center of the basketball universe again — Golden State included.
Then again, Magic recently said he didn’t feel the need to have to acquire any player during this free agency, but that has to be to keep any players comfortable who may not be happy with the thought of Bron and“Playoff P” taking over.
Lakers News: Magic Johnson Says Team Won’t ‘Give Money Away’ in Free Agency https://t.co/Chk5t4urUh
Free agency has become basketballs most enthralling competition. Its more soap opera drama, lacking the seriousness of the NBA Finals. More Empire than Power.
When Bron switches teams he improves the franchise and the hoops culture, marketability and visibility of whatever city hes in. Hes personally made NBA free agency an event unlike any other in sports. Social media and direct fan participation in wooing players through videos and billboards has upped the minute to minute conversation about players and potential destinations and made the fans feel like a part of the process.
LeBrons infamous The Decision which was broadcasted and covered in record numbers, helped the culture of free agency explode and keeps sports fans zoned in on NBA coverage well into the Fall.
July 08, 2010 – ESPN – Lebron James “The Decision” Full Interview
The players know this as well and even if they know what they will do in free agency, they have a silent agreement with the NBA to keep it under wraps and in the rampant rumor mill for as long as they can.
“It’s a long ways until the end of the season,” George told reporters in February. “There’s no awkwardness (being in LA amid all the Lakers speculation). I’m a Thunder (player), and that’s all there is to it. I’m not one foot in, one foot out. I know what team I’m representing, and I know what our main goal is.”