After a memorable three-year stretch in which they reached the NBA Finals every season thanks to hometown hero LeBron James, things could be starting to fall apart for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their secondary option in Kyrie Irving has made it perfectly clear he has no interest in remaining with the team or playing in the shadow of James and his departure seems imminent sooner rather than later.
The West has stacked up on even more talent and the window for Cleveland to win another ring appears to be closing. Not only is Irving likely on his way out, but the head of the snake in LeBron James could also follow suit when he becomes a free agent next offseason.
Of course, one of the teams that has been linked to James not only now but on numerous occasions throughout his career has been the Los Angeles Lakers. While the Lakers never really had a legit shot at LeBron before, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi reports that there is a ‘growing verdict’ about James showing real intrigue in heading to LA next summer:
With James refusing to commit to Cleveland beyond the coming season, and with the growing verdict that James is intrigued with pursuing a Los Angeles Lakers exit plan, Irving has become proactive in controlling his own career arc.
With a rock solid young core already in place for the Lakers, they have boat loads of potential, making the City of Angels an interesting destination choice for LeBron. Paul George has already voiced his intentions to sign there next offseason and young pieces Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball will only incentivize James further.
Though it seemed when LeBron made his homecoming years back he was there for good, he left Cleveland once and there is certainly a chance he does so again. Depending on the package they get back in a potential Irving deal, James could look at this Cavs roster and surely see a better opportunity at winning rings elsewhere.
He would have to go through the likes of the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, and the Rockets en route to a finals berth in the West, something James will undoubtedly consider before ultimately making his decision. If James opts to leave his hometown for the second time in his illustrious career, the Lakers will be one of few suitors to keep a close eye on.