A lot of basketball people are weighing in on where they think LeBron James will land this summer.
Kobe Bryant, to nobody’s surprise, believes James should put the quest of collecting rings above all else.
But when Dwyane Wade — his teammate on two championship teams and a close friend — chimes in, there’s a little extra heft to what he says.
Wade spoke on Fox Sports radio on Sunday and believes that whatever decision James makes, basketball will be a secondary factor to family and lifestyle.
“To me, I don’t think it’s a basketball thing,” Wade said. “Obviously, he’s shown this year he can get to the Finals no matter what the circumstances are. I don’t really think, for him, (it’s a) basketball decision of saying, ‘Oh, let me go team up with three All-Stars.’
“I think at this point in his life, it’s more so of a lifestyle thing of where my family is going to be the most comfortable and where I’m going to be the happiest. Because basketball-wise, he’s so great, he can bring along and take along whoever.”
It’s a reasonable line of thinking and one that may lend credence to his ending up with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers have made multiple moves to clear up cap room and appear to be in the best position to lure James along with some other high-priced free agents or trade acquisitions. Spotrac calculates the Lakers as having more than $69 million in cap space next season.
Part of the Lakers acquiring so much cap space was last season’s midseason trade with the Cavaliers where they shed the remaining $25.9 million on Jordan Clarkson’s deal and received Isaiah Thomas and his expiring contract in return.
James and his family have a home in Los Angeles, and James has long been planning to parlay his NBA success to Hollywood after his basketball career. Just on Monday, HBO announced a collaboration with James for a documentary on the “exploitative world of high-revenue college sports.”
Gary Payton told Black Sports Online on Monday that he believes that James plans to send his 13-year-old son LeBron James Jr. to an L.A. prep school next year, though a school official responded to Payton’s statement as “news to us.”
Las Vegas believes L.A. is a likely scenario with opening futures odds placing the 35-47 Lakers as 2019 title favorites ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Oddsshark has the Lakers as James’ most likely landing spot ahead of the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavs are a distant fourth.
And when it comes to Wade’s reference to lifestyle and being comfortable … well, not to bag on Cleveland. But L.A. has its obvious advantages on those fronts.
So there is a lot pointing to James landing in L.A.
Of course, James has surprised us before. Twice. Until he makes a decision official, all of this kind of talk boils down to connecting dots.
Wade himself admitted Monday that he doesn’t have any inside information on James’ thinking. Chris Bosh seems to think along the same lines as Bryant, believing James will go to the Rockets, a ready-made title contender.
James, of course, is not tipping his hand, other than confirming that his family will be involved in the decision.
“I have no idea at this point,” James said after Friday’s Game 4 loss on Friday. “The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family. Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I’ve got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well.”
But the summer of LeBron has officially begun. Only when he signs a new contract will the speculation end.
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