There were four billboards with hashtag “LABron” that went up in Los Angeles to woo LeBron James, purchased by a Lakers season-ticket holder and attorney. There was a passionate fan courtside during the season wearing a No. 23 customized Lakers jersey with James’ name on the back of it.
There’s a Lakers front office, headed by team president Magic Johnson, prepared to pitch James, an Akron native, as soon as becomes a free agent this summer. The Cleveland star recently bought a newly built home in Brentwood for $23 million.
His agent and friend, Rich Paul, bought a two-story contemporary in Beverly Hills. Maverick Carter, his business manager, purchased a $3.47 million home in Hollywood Hills.
Last summer, James and his wife were apparently touring a private school near Los Angeles and, of course, everybody assumes he’s departing from home for a chance to join an iconic franchise in free agency this July.
If the Lakers are thinking about recruiting him, welcoming him with open arms, there’s a good chance James would show interest in Los Angeles if he decides to leave Cleveland. It’s a look at a word-famous franchise going to any lengths to monopolize the market and land a superstar with urgency.
Therefore, if James opts out of his contract and becomes a free agent, he can seek a new home on the West Coast, he can be that superstar the Lakers have been desperately searching for since Kobe Bryant rode off into the Cali sunset.
There is no debate—not at all—to be had over James. There is no argument about who is the world’s best player in the modern era. Certainly he has the impeccable credentials as the righteous King on the court.
Now, as he tries to single-handedly lead the Cavaliers in the playoffs, James is clearly the best player of the decade. Presently, as he has taken his game to a whole new level, the dominant forward is surely having one of the best statistical seasons of his career.
Without him, the Cavaliers don’t make it out of the first round. Without him, the Cavaliers are below average, pedestrian and a tragicomedy. Without him, a bunch of misfits and castoffs would have gone away on vacation.
No wonder the Lakers cleared up enough cap space for two max salaries, more inclined to aggressively pursue a player as great as James. So here’s a chance for them to roll out the purple and gold carpet for him.
It’s probably going to be a dramatic, intriguing summer for the Lakers and nobody knows for sure if James is coming to L.A. It is believed that the Lakers, having taken on a certain bravado, are unrelentingly going after veteran star power and ageless bodies.
Outside of James, there may not be another player as attractive as the 33-year-old. Out here in Southern California, since the season ended early, thousands nudged the conversation to the subject of James. Not even a day has passed when fans have either launched into resentful diatribes or incessantly begged for the services of a player with an unmatched skill set that has elevated his game.
James, love him or not, should be universally viewed as the G.O.A.T of this era. And how quickly he’s developed an outside shot, altered his mechanics on free throws and added a smooth, merciless step-back 3-pointer to his arsenal are reasons why he’s attracted plenty of attention from people of all ages.
Surrounded by a supporting cast with limited talent, James has kept his team afloat in these playoffs. The Cavaliers certainly have no championship hopes without him. That only means the Lakers would indeed have championship aspirations with him. With him, this team could become a strong contender in the Western Conference the moment he joins them.
For now, James has not decided what he’s going to do this offseason, but it’s only realistic to suspect he may sign with the Lakers. He is a dominant force, a fiery competitor and a three-dimensional locomotive built to steamroll his opposition.
Now the Lakers are even more ready and fully prepared to reach out to King James, but his Cavaliers are still making a push to stick around in the playoffs. If anything, he hasn’t spurned the idea of asserting himself as the cornerstone of the Lakers, but right now he’s focused on the task ahead.
It’s often that this community places so much value on stars and celebrities. For that, the Lakers are infatuated with LeBron’s ubiquitous nature, his physical attributes and unstoppable scoring. Being in Hollywood, he’s built for a big-market team, he fits in perfectly with this town where he’d be appreciated by the majority, if true to their team.
He’s that vocal leader this Lakers young core needs so badly, as his voice has been heard loudly. He’s that showy, transcendent player this team needs instantly, as his work ethic has transcended the game. He’s that brand-name salesman this franchise needs right away, as his presence has catalyzed economic growth.
If he does decide to depart from Cleveland for a second time in free agency, he can build an empire in Los Angeles. James’ ability to put the Cavaliers on his back the way he has done is simply phenomenal.
He’s playing as if he’s not a three-time champion, giving his team a fighting chance to stay on the playground, or else they go home. The notoriously unselfish James has made everybody around him look like star players with his playmaking. And by his tenacity alone, he’s more productive and more difficult to slow down.
Thanks to James, somehow the Cavaliers found their way to the second round, amazingly seeing a turnaround after a poor showing in Game 1 against a younger and athletic Pacers team. James’ sudden conversion manifested itself on many occasions during which a round of uncertainty transitioned to a seven-game series that the Cavaliers unbelievably won.
All of these things happened so fast, erasing the dreadful thoughts of what had been a tumultuous season. More astonishingly, James has dragged his earthbound team to the playoffs, yet he came under scrutiny for a toxic situation that seemingly poisoned the Cleveland locker room.
It looks as if he can take this Cavaliers bunch he has now back to the NBA Finals, yet there’s a slew of fans who still hate James. They won’t admit that he’s a generational talent with smartness and unmatched athleticism. They can’t own that he’s putting himself in the same class as Michael Jordan, closing the gap on the Bulls legend.
He has done it all—from scoring 40 points in multiple games, to nailing a pair of game-winning shots at the buzzer, to registering his 20th career playoff triple-double, becoming only the second to accomplish such a feat behind Johnson, the guy who was already spotted talking to James’ agent.
The last time the Lakers had someone of James’ stature—to be perfectly honest—was when Bryant dropped 60 points in the team’s season finale on Mamba Day back in 2016. That night the folks waved farewell to one of the most celebrated legends in Lakers history, but have never stood up to say hello to a new perennial All-Star.
Moving out of Cleveland, and moving on up to the West side, James will see stiffer competition, having to face a potent Warriors team that features a trio of three-point shooters and pesky defenders. It will only get tougher with the Rockets, led by a dynamic backcourt with James Harden and Chris Paul.
If he chooses to take the easier route, James can buddy up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. If that’s what he’s leaning towards, he has a bit of an edge to defeat those who don’t look as intimidating or pose much of a threat.
It seems as if the Sixers are one superstar away from being in serious contention and some believe, rested upon public opinion, that James has a good chance of making it back to the Finals if he stays in the East.
In L.A., if he chooses, he can surround himself with promising stars Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball. That’s only if he can tolerate the unnecessary baggage Ball’s now-quiet, drama queen-like dad creates with his series of nutty statements.
Fans will have to wait until the summer for Decision III—only two months to go. While James has shown nothing but love for L.A. and has a passion for the show biz, his focus has been solely about bringing another title home to Cleveland.
Then, in his hometown, he hosts a youth summer basketball camp, while he may not want to betray the town he once deserted when he took his talents to Miami.
For months now, though, you get the feeling James is leaving for another city, for a different team, no matter the circumstances or what happens in the playoffs. His interest to work in entertainment connects him to the Lakers.
This summer’s biggest story will be about James. And maybe, just maybe, he has L.A. heavy on his mind.