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Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 5:10 pm  |  37 responses

Lakers Planning to Go After LeBron James in 2014?


With Kobe Bryant thinking of walking away in a couple of years, it’s never too early to start planning for his replacement in Hollywood. According to ESPN, the Lakers will go hard after LeBron James should he test free agency in the summer of 2014 — which, let’s be honest, is the same plan for every other team in the NBA: “Several teams’ executives have said they believe the Lakers are positioning themselves to make a run at LeBron James in 2014, when the Miami Heat star can choose to become a free agent. […] In the wake of the Howard trade, much as been made of the massive luxury-tax bill the Lakers are facing next season if they’re able to re-sign the big man. Salary cap expert Larry Coon has estimated the Lakers could be on the hook for as much as $85 million just in taxes in 2013-14. But look a little further, to that 2014-15 season, and you’ll see something else: The Lakers’ projected payroll is almost completely clear. Only Nash is signed for that season, at $9.7 million, though the Lakers will also be paying about $20 million to Howard if they can re-sign him this coming summer. In July 2014, Bryant’s $30.4 million, Pau Gasol’s $19.2 million, Metta World Peace’s $7.7 million, Steve Blake’s $4 million and Jordan Hill’s $3.5 million will come off the books. There likely won’t even be any first-round draft picks filling up the cap, either, as the Lakers have already traded their 2013 first-round pick to Phoenix in the Nash deal. Opposing teams that are making their own long-range free agency plans think they see the Lakers’ plan coming into focus. As it stands, L.A. will have enough cap space to add a superstar like James. ‘It’s not a mistake that all those deals end the same year Kobe’s does. They have probably been planning for their next phase for a while,’ said one general manager. ‘The Busses and [Lakers GM] Mitch [Kupchak] are always thinking about the next big deal.’ […] At the moment, the Heat are loaded and poised to be title contenders for the next two seasons. James is signed through 2016, but he can end his contract in either 2014 or 2015 if he wishes to. He has recently said that he’s not thought about his contract decision in 2014, even though he recently switched agents. But observers around the league expect James to opt out of his contract in 2014, no matter what happens with the Heat over the next two seasons. That doesn’t mean he won’t stay in Miami, but it does mean he might be in play again.”

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  • Rainman

    Nash is still gonna be on the books for his last year on his current contract too…Nash, LeBron and Dwight? (Pau?) Damn…

  • RKJ92

    NONONONOONONONONONO!!!!!!!

  • shutup

    With their history; watch them pull this ish off.

  • JML-G

    pipe dreams

  • MUBWAR

    Looool come on who wrote this? The dude didnt even start the 2012 2013 season.

  • http://twitter.com/NaijaAdditude E.Meezy

    Its too early to call, I think LeBron is going to head back to Cleveland to end his career.

  • KB37

    Why would he just ditch D Wade after winning a championship already with the heat?

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t see him leaving Wade unless he wears down considerably by the time 2014 gets here. I would like to see what kind of money the Bulls have though by then…maybe LeBron will choose Chicago and help Rose who will only be 25 then. If Rose doesn’t return to 100%, it wouldn’t matter. He could be 80% and he and LeBron would run the East for a good 5 seasons. It’s all speculation at this point. Figured I’d add to it.

  • Dymez

    It’s very possible. This is what the Lakers do. Somehow they manage to get franchise players off their squads and on to the Lakers instead. I only see LeBron leaving Miami if he goes the next 2 years without a championship and there’s no hope in sight though. I would see him returning to Cleveland over the Lakers at this point, however. Whether the Lakers get LeBron or not, they will still make some move that puts them in contention because they’re one of those few franchises in sports that seem to always be around in the postseason.

    Also, this would all depend on whether Kobe actually retires, because if he doesn’t, LeBron won’t even consider the Lakers’ offer.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    Truthfully speaking.. WHO WOULDNT WANT ‘BRON on their team.

  • mike

    You must really be rainman if you think Nash will be in the nba (or playing at a high level in 2 years) paul gasol is will also be on the very wrong side of 30. You must be a Laker fan. Yup.

  • DGNJ

    That would be so disrespectful to the rest of the league….

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I don’t see him ever playing for the Cavs again as long as Dan Gilbert is their owner.

  • JR

    Can’t we wait until 2013, at least?

  • justin05

    If the Lakers win the next 2 championships LBJ might sign with them. “If you can’t beat em, join em”

  • Max

    Why the F would Lebron like to play in Cleveland after what the organisation and its fans did to him?

  • JML-G

    Dwight dissed Lebron numerous times with saying he isnt like him (even tho he was more hated at the moment), so i dont see James even possibly wanting to go there.

  • JML-G

    this article actually makes it seem that now after Dwightmare is over, there is search for the next NBA drama queen.. brace urselves – now waaaayyyy early Lebron rumors, wait til someone sees CP3 is closer to his final year than LBJ.. smh

  • Dymez

    I do. LeBron’s already said he could see himself wrapping up his career in Cleveland last year. Dan Gilbert can hate him all he wants… right now, but he’s not stupid. He knows if LeBron wants to go back, it wouldn’t just be great for his team, but great for the city of Cleveland, his casino and all of the other businesses he owns in that area. At the end of the day, it’s really easy to hate LeBron James when he’s not on your team.

  • robb

    and CP3 too?

  • Conor

    Chicago is planning on using their amnesty clause on Boozer, apparently.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Would be a great idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    exactly

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    If Lebron and Dwight Howard ever end up on the same team the rest of the league might as well give up smh…how the eff would anybody score??

  • roscoe

    Does it tarnish bron bron’s legacy if he bounces around?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bishop.SeanMagicJuan Sean MagicJuan

    Wow. Kobe will make 30.4 million his last contract year.

  • http://twitter.com/NaijaAdditude E.Meezy

    Cleveland most specifically Akron is still home, he realize it was done out of the way the Decision went down. I believe he want to go and win a championship like he promised them.

  • danpowers

    in contemporary perception yes, but not in the long run

  • Drig

    Nobody dissed Moses. It actually enhances his legacy if he can climb to the top multiple times with different teams in different markets.

  • Drig

    The odds of this happening are worse than the Bobcats winning the title in the next 4 years.. ( Cue the Lakers making me eat my words and get LeBron on the roster ) . It’d make sense for LeBron to come to LAL esp. if he wants to become an entrepreneur and build on his image in the NBA. However, I remember CP3 being buddies with Bron Bron so I don’t think this is even remotely possible.

  • Yesse

    Give me a break with these articles. This is just as stupid as the last time, when people were getting hyped for LeBrons move.

  • Max

    What Dan Gilbert said was way worse than ‘the decision’..

  • JackPackage

    You think? They should at least let Boozer play this season and try and get some value back to just see if they can trade him. They don’t have enough money to be a major player in free agency even if they amnesty Boozer, so I don’t see the logic in it, unless they’re going to trade Deng for an expiring and completely rebuild. James Harden on a max contract is probably the worst idea for Chicago IMO.

  • The Mauve Avenger

    I speak for alot of people when I say: What the hell is wrong with he league these days? Stacking teams is for gym pick up basketball.

  • R32

    No way LeBron’s handlers let him play for the rival Lakers. I would like to see him go back to Cleveland and win a championship there. It would be a pretty good sports story.

  • shockexchange

    L.A. got Shaq and Gasol for free, and got D12 without having to give up Pau Gasol / Andrew Bynum at the same ____ time. It has bred laziness and a sense of entitlement. L.A. fans and management probably expect LeBron to sign with them.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I don’t think they’ll amnesty him this season. They may give it some thought next season though.

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