LeBron James has done his deed. The living legend returned to Cavaliers in 2014 with one mission: to bring the city of Cleveland its first major sports championship since 1964. James has fulfilled his promise and isn’t obligated to stay in The Land, according to popular analyst Stephen A Smith.
In fact, Smith reported that the Los Angeles Lakers were the favorites to land James if he decided to bolt in free agency next month. “I’m hearing there are possibilities that James leaves Cleveland in free agency to go to Los Angeles or Miami. LeBron always promised that he was coming back to deliver a title. He never promised to stay,” Smith said on Monday’s broadcast of ESPN First Take. (Watch Video Above)
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Smith said that while it’s difficult to foresee James leaving Cleveland, the Lakers present the four-time MVP the best option to maximize his career earnings. “The guys at Nike, the likes of Phil Knight, would love for James to head to Los Angeles. James has aspirations beyond basketball. Being in a big market like L.A., wearing the Purple & Gold, could help him accomplish a lot more in his career.”
When asked “what his gut feeling was” about James’ future, Smith said: “I think he joins the Lakers. I never considered that as a possibility until the last few weeks when I heard a lot of talk from different circles. The Lakers themselves feel they have a great shot at getting him.”
LeBron James delivered on his promise to bring a championship to Cleveland, now if he decides to leave nobody can be mad at him.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 20, 2016
Smith said that James “would prefer” L.A. to Miami due to his reportedly sour relationship with Heat president Pat Riley, who allegedly criticized the superstar behind closed doors. “Anything is plausible. Cannot rule out anything. The next few weeks will be interesting.
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Smith also floated the idea of Kevin Durant following James to L.A. Remember, the Lakers have approximately $64 million to spend in free agency next month.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has also speculated about James’ future. “One more victory, one more magnificent night at Oracle Arena, and James will get to run off with his buddies again somewhere warm. Miami. Los Angeles. Wherever. There’s a restlessness about James that craves the next big move, the next power play,” he wrote for The Vertical a few days before Sunday’s Game 7.
“From what I’ve been told, the Lakers and Heat are possiblities as a destination for LeBron James this summer.”
– Stephen A. Smith
— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) June 20, 2016
Wojnarowski also revealed that James had no intention to finish his career in Cleveland. “Franchises are on watch again, believing nothing’s forever in Northeast Ohio. Sooner or later, there’s a belief that James comes into play again, a line of thinking that his inner circle has done nothing to dissuade. As for James himself, well, he has gone so far as to publicly describe an end-of-career scenario that doesn’t include Cleveland.”
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