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Report: LeBron wants to be a Laker

Feb 28, 2010, 5:56 PM EDT

Roland Lazenby is pretty plugged in to Laker culture. He recently released a book on Jerry West (see Kurt’s talk with him here and here). Today he releases what will likely be considered a bombshell in some circles.

From HoopsHype:

“The greatest NBA free agent of all time, LeBron James, is quietly making overtures to the Los Angeles Lakers.

He wants to play for them. And James is not all that concerned whether Kobe Bryant
is part of the equation. Bryant, of course, has yet to sign a contract
extension with L.A. and could wind up a free-agent himself, albeit one
with high mileage.”

Lazenby goes on to outline the complicated nature of the ownership situation in LA and the relationship with Phil Jackson and galpal Jeannie Buss. It reads pretty much like something in between a Twilight novel and Pride and Prejudice. The meat at the beginning, the selling point, though, is clearly “LEBRON= LAKERS, GETCHA POPCORN.”

There are about a million reasons to doubt this. Making room for what James would want, even if he were to take a paycut, would mean dumping Kobe Bryant or multiple components of the Lakers’ championship-level core. Would they do that to get James? Would Lakers fans accept James after developing a blood rivalry over the Kobe v. LeBron debate?

The odds of this happening are pretty low. It would mean a total revision of everything the Lakers have worked for over the past three years, abandoning arguably the second greatest player in franchise history, or the alternative, paying a luxury tax amount that would be enough to subsidize sending every child in the greater Los Angeles area to college.

Lazenby’s sources suggest that a key component to James is being coached by Jackson, who he likely ties into his Jordan-obsession. It’s an interesting idea, to think of one of the greatest small forwards of all time in the triangle. And obviously, LA is a terrific market for LeBron to grow his empire from.

Then again, why would he want to enter into a situation where he’s got so much history to compete with? Why would he want to work into taking over Kobe’s town? Why not just go where he can run things any way he wants (like Brooklyn, or, gasp, Cleveland)?

We’ll have to see if there’s any teeth to this rumor, or if this is yet another pipe dream in the James championship sweepstakes.

114 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ryan - Feb 28, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    I can’t believe you even give attention to garbage like this.
    Obviously it’s not true.

  2. Rachel - Feb 28, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Kobe and PJ are on their way out. Why not make room for LeBron?

  3. Ugh - Feb 28, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    No sites or blogs should quote this sort of garbage
    hoopshype is just trying to generate traffic because fewer people care about their existence anymore

  4. Chris - Feb 28, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    How can you even dignify an idiotic wish-piece like that? There’s no way it could happen with the Lakers salary structure, among a billion other reasons.

  5. Thomas - Feb 28, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    I can’t see the Lakers “ditching” Kobe — EVER!
    He IS the franchise.

  6. bobdevo - Feb 28, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    Kobe Bryant the 2nd greatest player in Laker history?? As if.
    Matt, apparently you know nothing about basketball. Kobe doesn’t even make the starting 5 for the Lakers. Starting guards: Magic and Jerry West. Look at the stats: West was better than Kobe in every major category (points, rebounds and assists per game. And he did it BEFORE the 3-point shot).
    Elgin Baylor at forward and Kareem, Wilt and Shaq at center/power forward.

  7. MattC - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    Come on guys, this is a great site with 99% great articles. This is just 100% unsubstantiated hogwash. No need to be posting this crap.

  8. SurferDude - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    BRING IT ON !!!
    It’s all about winning championships and Prince James in a Laker uniform will not win one UNLESS HE PLAYS WITH KOBE.

  9. SurferDude - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    Make it happen, pleaaaaaaaaaaaase.
    Let’s see if Prince James can win a championship on a Laker uniform if King Kobe decides to become a Celtic.

  10. joseph - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Lebron to the Lakers is not that far fetched when you consider the history of the Lakers since the 80s. Remember they had Worthy, Magic and Kareem there at one time.
    During their prime years both the Lakers and Boston have won so much because they have managed to bring in new superstars before the old superstars faded away.
    Lebron makes so much from endorsements (and can probably get a bigger deal now that Tiger’s stock has gone down) that he can make a Jordanesque move and sacrifice salary for a ring. Besides, LA is a lot more attractive than NY. LA is a step forward just like Boston was a step forward for Kevin Garnett, but NY would be a step backward for Lebron because they aren’t even close to the level of Cleveland.

  11. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    I think it’s an insult for both Lakers and Cavs fans to even dignify this. There’s nothing like a great rivalry. The only team they’re playing together is the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team.

  12. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    I think it’s an insult for both Lakers and Cavs fans to even dignify this. There’s nothing like a great rivalry. The only team they’re playing together is the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team.

  13. doc holliday - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    why would anyone want to go play for brooklyn?….is this the knicks…what have they done in the past 30 years?….nothing, but spend a ton of $$ on a bunch of players who want $$ and only $$…could care less of the game besides….NY…please….only a fool would go there right now….

  14. DrewUnga - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    This seems like a rumor started by the Lakers to gain leverage on the in getting Kobe to sign an extension sooner rather than later.
    This way if Kobe opts out and LeBron insists on coming to L.A. then Kobe risks losing out on millions by going to New York or Chicago.
    If I’m LeBron I’d have to consider it IF AND ONLY IF Kobe’s out of the picture.
    I’m a huge Lakers fan but if I were LeBron I’d stay as far away from Kobe as possible.

  15. Steve Munroe - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Reminds me of when the Blazer fans wanted to draft Michael Jordan. He would have been teammates with Cyde Drexler.

  16. CK Dexter Haven - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    I’m no Kobe fan, but you can’t reliably compare players from such vastly different eras. The caliber of player Jerry West played against could not compete against a modern player. The stats are irrelevant. Sure, if you want to create a mythical “All-Time Lakers Team,” you’d give deference to their respective places in history. But, head-to-head, with each player at his peak? Kobe trounces West. Not even close.
    As for this rumor, well, the story is essentially about what Lebron is said to WANT. Maybe he made some comments toward leadership/management in the hopes that he’d get feedback about whether it would be either possible or desired by the Lakers. You can’t discount the possibility that the Lakers would make another of those “hard decisions,” as, after all, they were forced to make a similar choice with Shaquille O’Neil not too long ago. If you have to chose one, with the franchise’s future in mind, how many more years can you expect to get out of Kobe versus Lebron? I don’t see it happening, but it’s not inconceivable. It’s also not inconceivable that Lebron is not entirely interested in getting the most money possible out of his next contract. He doesn’t NEED any more money. Whatever he makes going forward is simply Ego Loot. He could play for a token.

  17. SPS - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Sorry Laker Fan, this will never happen – the “4 guys standing around watching LeBron” offense would not work anywhere outside of C-Town.

  18. cat<3kimeion - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:39 PM


  19. Richard Andrade - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:41 PM

    Kobe 4 Lebron 0

  20. La-kees - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    C’mon Buss pull a Steinbernner and go for it. The Yankees won the WS with the largest payroll in the League. We can build a dynasty with this. The luxury tax would be chump change compared to what Kobe and Lebron would bring in internationally. Think – ‘China Market’ You’ll have the top 2 selling cash cow in your club. This would be a marketing director’s dream on what they can do with this duo. – It’s fun to dream..

  21. brian Michaels - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    LeBron playing in Los Angeles in no pipe dream. And what player who has any sense of basketball history and likes money as much as Bron would not want to be in Los Angeles??
    The Lakers are about winning. But they are also about loyalty. If money were no object, and it is, sure Dr. Buss would make a play for Bron. But not at the expense of Kobe and everything he means to this town.
    Bron could be well served playing in the Staples Center in Los Angeles. But he would have to be willing to be a Clipper. If you’re choices are New Jersey, New York of the Clippers why wouldn’t you consider the Clippers. They have Baron Davis, a good center in Kamin and a terrific young 3 small forward in Blake Griffin. You put Lebron at the 4 position and that is not a bad place to start. It’s a better squad already than anything either New York or New Jeresy could command. And you are in Los Angeles.
    By the time you finish your first contract, Kobe would be retired and you could swap Jersey’s and become a part of Laker lore. Why not?

  22. Dale Stone - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Sinced we gave up Garnett, the T-Wolves have meandered pointlessly. I hope our management would explore the James option. The quality of life in Minnesota is outstanding. He would fit in and everyone could thrive together! Don’t forget the Lakers came from Minnesota. I have lived in California. What’s so great living with coughing sparrows in smog with their financial deficits? Let Sid Hartman lead the charge! Go T-Wolves!!

  23. JT - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    if he has a jordan obsession, come on to charlotte king james…

  24. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Feb 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    LeBron has already a potential championship-caliber team. Why rock the boat and look elsewhere?
    And this is coming from an avid Laker fan.

  25. LOL - Feb 28, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    I think it’s hilarious how all these posers say things like “this is garbage,” and this is “gossip crap” and so forth and so on when not a single one of them have any CLUE what is really going on behind the scenes. This “rumor” has just as merit as any other rumor. For all we know LeBron is dying to get to LA and the Lakers are planning on moving Kobe. You have NO IDEA. So please shudup with all the lame gossip bashing you fanboys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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