Can Lakers build a new big three?

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Now that LeBron James is leaving Cleveland, will he become a Laker? Now that Paul George is free to come home, will he wear the purple and gold? Could the Lakers land a true point guard in Chris Paul?

A man of many talents, James could very well take his talents to Hollywood. Palmdale native George hinted he wants to sign with the Lakers and wouldn’t mind playing alongside James. The original trade that would have sent former Clippers star Paul to the Lakers was vetoed by former commissioner David Stern.

It makes too much sense for the creation of a new big three not to happen. It remains to be seen whether the Lakers will build the next superteam this summer. It sounds like some kind of crazy fantasy, but with a little bit of magic in the Lakers front office, dreams can become a reality.

So as for where James himself will be playing next season is still unknown, though it’s fitting to assume that his desirable destination is Los Angeles. As for where George will suit up next season, it almost seems like an absolute certainty when he told the Pacers he preferred to join the Lakers. Before long, he was dealt to Oklahoma City, where he formed a trifecta with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.

As for where Paul will wind up next season, his friendship with James makes it easy to rationalize his next move. He used to be a star guard in LA, when he worked in tandem with Blake Griffin and ran the Clippers offense that gave birth to Lob City.

James is in town quite often, he has a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood and his movie-star aspirations link him to the Lakers. Yet he’s still unsure where he wants to play, he hasn’t come to a decision as to which road to take when he becomes an attractive free agent in July.

After weeks of speculation and innuendo, the Lakers are betting favorites in the James sweepstakes. In a year where the Lakers have loads of cap space for two max salaries, a trio of superstars coming together looks remarkably realistic.

This means there’s a good chance Magic Johnson delivers bounce-passes to George and Paul, who’d hand it off to James for the easy bucket as the Lakers would outscore other teams in search of star power. The winners of a wild offseason could be the Lakers if they are successful in landing big names. All three could make the Lakers an immediate title contender very soon if they are signed by the team.

James is walking away from his native land this summer because he knows he earned his right. He fulfilled his promise by returning home and bringing a title to Cleveland. He felt an obligation to make amends for abruptly leaving the Cavaliers for Miami in the summer of 2010.

After five long years, many have grown weary of all the excuses and losses, lamenting the team’s misfortunes despite a turning point last season in what was a painfully slow process. Beyond talks of the Lakers snaring George in free agency, they are apparently the leading candidates to land James as well.

And while they’ll likely be the first team to bring George in for a visit, they don’t want to miss out on big-name talent or adding someone like James. There are certainly teams out there that would sign the world’s best player to a max deal. Wherever he decides to play next season, James’ presence alone could make a significant impact on the team.

This is, after all, the guy who has been as good a player and dragged the non-talented Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. For James’ combination of physical prowess, size and genetics—or because the Lakers are without an All-Star player—they intend on pursuing the best available player.

He’s not like any other superstar and, after having perhaps the best playoff run of his career, it not only catapulted James to new heights but also made him much more appealing to several potential landing spots. He should seriously consider going West and shaping his iconic career with the Lakers.

Now that he’s proven by becoming the greatest player of our generation that he’s capable of carrying any team to the promise land, hundreds of thousands are desperately begging for James to come to the Lakers.

At the same, however, some are not thinking about tomorrow and instead have looked ahead at what the future holds. While many have lost patience with the rebuild, they are willing to wait, anticipate continued growth and give the Lakers’ young core a chance to blossom.

Tired of the long discussions about where LeBron will end up, only time will tell where he plays next season. His next move is something to think about carefully before making a decision that will likely define his legacy. James, whose family and business opportunities play a strong role in his future, will decide on his best option which won’t be easy.

He is a rare breed in this day and age, and only the Lakers can get him this summer if he migrates to Venice Beach. The good news for the Lakers is that James certainly has shown interest in signing with the team. But he’s taking a number of things into consideration before he makes it official.

So if you ask him if the Lakers would be his place of choice, he’d have no comment, although he’s flirting with the idea of adding his name to the list of Lakers legend. If so, he would show how much he can handle the pressure of having to take the place of the legendary Kobe Bryant.

He may not have the same connection that Kobe had with the Lakers, but then James could be the bait that helps the team lure George and maybe even Paul. Like Bryant, James can breathe life back into the town and electrify fans by bringing back the glory days to the 16-time world champions. Assuming he’ll make his next stop in LA, where he can author one of the most wonderful West Side stories, fans can rest assured that the Lakers will make the playoffs next season.

This is, after all, an organization with the money to invest in the LeBron project. The renovation of a storied franchise will be completed by the summer. The Lakers will be designed by their architect Johnson, who plans to build a winning empire in Los Angeles. His intent is to put the Lakers back together with title-material players in James and George.

If James comes to Southern California, signing with a storied franchise, it is believed that two superstars will accompany him. The fun begins in early July, when George is expected to finally sign with the Lakers, with or without James by his side. Paul won’t reportedly take a pay cut to stay in Houston, so there’s a possibility he’ll return to LA. Only this time, if he chooses to play for the more prominent franchise, he will wear different colors as opposed to the last time he played here.

Brace yourself for a tidal wave of free agency rumors and buzz surrounding the Lakers. It will be an interesting summer to see how it all pans out for LA, and Johnson knows he can assemble The Three Musketeers, The Three Caballeros, or a trio of superheroes you’d see in a Marvel movie.

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Jonathan Mathis as known as The Sports Judge is the founder of SoCalChronicle. He is a professional Sports writer, contributor, Youtuber, podcaster @ ASAP Network, and co-host of Gonzo & The Judge Sports Talk. Follow the SportsJudge@


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