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NBA PM: LeBron James to the L.A. Lakers?
Posted By Alex Kennedy On July 11, 2013 @ 5:11 pm In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
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LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers?
After the departure of Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers proceeded to sign Chris Kaman and Jordan Farmer to one-year deals and re-sign Robert Sacre to a contract that has only one year that’s guaranteed. This is no coincidence. The Lakers did this because they won’t do anything to jeopardize their 2014 cap space.
The 2010 offseason was dubbed the summer of LeBron James, and the summer of 2014 will likely be the sequel. Unless James decides to opt in and turn down the opportunity to sign a new long-term deal, James will become a free agent and may weigh his options depending on the state of the Miami HEAT.
The Lakers will be one of the teams pursuing James and they’ll have the necessary cap space to offer the four-time Most Valuable Player a max contract. The only player on the Lakers that has a guaranteed contract for the 2014-15 season is Steve Nash, who will be paid $9,701,000.
L.A. has been careful not to commit long-term money to any other players because they know just how loaded the 2014 free agent class will be, featuring potential unrestricted free agents like James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Rudy Gay, Luol Deng as well as restricted free agents Paul George, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Larry Sanders and Greg Monroe.
The Lakers were hoping that they could re-sign Howard, who would then recruit a second star in 2014. While Howard considered that plan, he felt that the Houston Rockets’ situation was better since the second star was already in place so there wasn’t any chance he’d be stuck as the lone star on a team.
Now, the Lakers will turn their attention to James, although they’ll have plenty of competition. Other teams such as the Miami HEAT, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks among others will also have plenty of money to throw around at James or the other top-tier free agents.
However, L.A. aren’t worried about the competition. The Lakers’ front office believe that they’ll be, at the very least, seriously considered by James. That’s because L.A. is the most confident franchise in the NBA. This same confidence is why they expected Howard to re-sign on a long-term deal after trading for him last summer. A star player choosing to leave the Lakers? Not going to happen, or so thought the organization. That’s the same approach and confidence that the Lakers will take into their pursuit of James, for better or worse.
In the past, James expressed interest in playing for the Lakers, according to veteran NBA writer and author Roland Lazenby. However, it seems James’ interest in donning purple and gold was tied to head coach Phil Jackson. Would the Lakers be willing to hire Jackson in order to increase their chances of landing James or another free agent? They didn’t hire Jackson to appease Howard, who admitted that he made such a request in a phone interview with HOOPSWORLD last week.
Even if Jackson isn’t coaching the team, there is reason to believe that James would at least consider the Lakers. They’re a storied franchise in one of the NBA’s largest markets and they’ve been able to field a contender in more seasons than not. They also have the ability to spend more money than most teams, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve paid the luxury tax in eight of the last 10 seasons.
Kobe Bryant was recently asked about James joining the Lakers, specifically if James would be less likely to join Bryant in L.A. since he’s chasing his ring count. Bryant didn’t seem to think this would be an issue.
“It’s that argument that goes on forever,” Kobe told Lakers Nation at his basketball camp at UC Santa Barbara. “You don’t want to help someone else kind of increase their ring count, but he’s already increased Dwyane [Wade]‘s, so I don’t think it’s that big of a stretch.”
A quote from Bryant saying that James to L.A. isn’t “that big of a stretch” should be enough to get the rumor mills churning and fans anticipating next offseason. As of right now, Miami and Cleveland seem to be the frontrunners to get James’ signature on a new contract, but Los Angeles will almost certainly get a meeting and receive consideration if James decides to listen to pitches and weigh his options.
Parsons’ Recruiting Effort Pays Off
Chandler Parsons, who spent the last several months recruiting Dwight Howard, had been surprisingly quiet since Howard decided to join the Houston Rockets. That’s because the small forward took a 10-day trip to Cabo to get away and decompress.
Now, he’s back in the country and gave his first interview to David Baumann of Sports Talk Florida.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Parsons said. “I took some time off and went to Cabo for a few weeks, but we were still talking back and forth. We developed a good relationship so I had a good feeling that he was going to come. Facts are facts, we were the best fit for him. We got a chance to win immediately with Coach McHale and James (Harden) and our core nucleus. I think it’d be pretty hard to turn down. I think Dwight made the right decision.”
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale recently told reporters that the Rockets can play with any team in the league with the addition of Howard. Parsons feels the exact same way and can’t wait to get on the court alongside his new teammate.
“It’s obviously going to be a process and it’ll take some time for us to get used to each other and develop that chemistry, but our talent is up there with the best of ‘em,” Parsons said. “Not many teams can say that they have the best shooting guard in the NBA and the best center in the NBA. We have a special team. We’ll have a hard working group that’s going to get along with no egos. We’re all on the same page. We all want to win championships. We’re excited about it.”
Parsons also believes that Howard will be able to repair his image in Houston.
“Anybody that knows Dwight personally, he’s a big kid,” Parsons said. “He’s fun, he’s loving, he’s caring, he’s a normal guy and I think the media has been hard on him and last year was a mess in L.A… I think slowly, but surely he can salvage his image back and I think Houston is the perfect city for that. The people love the Rockets there. There’s no pressure. Our network is great and has our back completely and I think that he made the right decision and slowly, but surely his image will turn around because you can’t say much when we’re winning and we’re going to do a lot of that.”
While Howard is now locked up on a four-year deal worth $88 million, Parsons is still on his rookie contract, which will only pay him $926,500 for the 2013-14 season since he was the 38th overall pick. While he’s looking forward to earning more money when he signs his second contract, he’s not focusing on that right now.
“I’m sure that will come someday,” Parsons said. “The Rockets organization knows what they’re doing and obviously my contract right now, I’ve outplayed it. I’m sure I’ll get taken care of soon. … Really that is out of my control. I let my agent [Dan Fegan] take care of it. I let the management of the Rockets handle that. I’m just worried about playing and getting better and I know financially, everything will work itself out.”
As if Rockets fans weren’t excited enough about this offseason, Parsons hinted that more moves could be coming.
“Knowing Daryl Morey,” Parsons said, “I’m sure we’re not done and we’re going to continue adding pieces to make us more of a championship contender.”
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