LeBron James fulfilled his promise by delivering a championship to the city of Cleveland. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be around next season when the Cavaliers defend their NBA title.
James and the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 93-89 on Sunday night in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. It marked the Cavs’ first title in franchise history and the city’s first major sports championship since 1964, so the celebration could last a while.
That said, there’s already speculation that James could opt out of his contract and become a free agent this offseason, at which point the Los Angeles Lakers would represent a possible destination, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
“I’m also hearing that it’s a huge, huge possibility if indeed he decides to depart from Cleveland that the Los Angeles Lakers will be in the mix,” Smith said Monday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “There are some changes that LeBron would want made if he’s going to go to L.A. and wear the purple and gold. He obviously has aspirations beyond basketball. Being in the Los Angeles market wearing the purple and gold could very well facilitate all of that.”
It’s crazy to think James, an Ohio native, might skip town for a second time. He did exactly what he set out to do upon returning to Cleveland last season, though, so it’s not like he’d be leaving with unfinished business like he did when he left the Cavs to join the Miami Heat before the 2010-11 season.
The Lakers have a ton of cap space, so they definitely could make a run at James if he opts out of his contract with the Cavs. It all could come down to whether James would like to pursue a new challenge and, if he does, whether the four-time MVP can recruit other stars — like, say, Kevin Durant — to join him in L.A.
This summer just became even more interesting.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images