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Rumors: NBA executives believe LeBron James is headed to the Lakers

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Rumors about LeBron James’ future continue to surface as new reports claim he’s headed for Los Angeles in 2018.

Ever since the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, rumors began to spread about LeBron James’ future in Cleveland. Essentially, the word on the street–or coming out of every NBA fan and writer’s mouth–was that LeBron was packing his bags and heading to la-la land to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

Despite the Cavs’ blockbuster trade sending Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick in 2018, James may still be leaning towards leaving Cleveland.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report got the inside scoop from executives around the league that believe the Cavs’ recent trade (or not a trade) didn’t ‘change a thing’ concerning LeBron’s decision to leave the team during free agency in 2018.

Bucher writes:

The prevailing sentiment among the league executives B/R contacted remains that when it comes time to exercise the option on his final contract year with the Cavaliers, James won’t.

“He’s out,” a Western Conference scout says.

“Foregone conclusion,” one Eastern Conference general manager adds.

“I don’t see him staying in Cleveland,” another thinks.

The reasons LeBron may want out could be such:

  • He already accomplished his goal to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland.
  • He’s on the verge of losing arguably his best right-hand man in Kyrie Irving.
  • With or without Kyrie, the Cavs still can’t take down the Warriors.
  • Irving’s replacement, Isaiah Thomas, may not be healthy enough to compete at an elite level this year.
  • James isn’t excited about playing with an unproven top pick from next year’s draft.
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And the reasons for James to join the Lakers, in particular, reports Bucher, are such:

With all that in mind, league executives not only expect James to leave but have circled his destination—the Los Angeles Lakers—for a host of reasons. The top three are:

  • Setting up his post-playing career in TV and movie production.

  • Attempting the unique feat of leading three different teams to a championship.

  • Creating a path to an ownership stake in the Lakers.

These reasons all make sense in their own way. For one, James is already invested in Hollywood. He’s starred in a Hollywood movie, he’s a producer of the Starz series “Survivor’s Remorse”, his business partner Maverick Carter has an office at Warner Brothers Studios and the two of them are reportedly developing a comedy series with HBO about sneaker culture.

Secondly, LeBron thrives off challenges and relishes in the idea of being considered the best ever. Although it’s unlikely as of now, he still has time to match or even surpass Michael Jordan’s ring total; but if he can’t and he leads three different franchises to a title he’ll forge his own unsurpassable mark on the game.

And finally, James is the best business-minded athlete who makes millions on several off-the-court ventures. Although there isn’t any clue as to if the Lakers are willing, why wouldn’t James want a stake in the team that’s the NBA’s second-most profitable organization.

The truth of the matter is that despite the chatter and rumors–even the ones coming from league sources–nobody is certain about what LeBron James is going to do come free agency. There’s a good chance he may not even know yet, or that his mind will change as the Cavs and Lakers’ seasons play out.

But what this whole LeBron-Cavs-Lakers drama seems destined for, is another live press conference “decision.” 

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