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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. Ko860 - Mar 1, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Did you really put Shaq in the conversation with Kobe?? Go play in traffic Kobe is THE best player in Laker history for the simple fact that he probably will have more rings than anyone.. Honestly the way things are going for the LAkers right now I can see him winning at LEAST 1 more ring if not 3 or 4. Im not saying he’s MJ status just YET but it is easily possible that he surpasses him.

  2. R.S. Trujillo - Mar 1, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    LeBron to the LAKERS. This is one Laker Fan who would welcome that. KOBE is going nowhere. He is the Face of the Lakers, and will retire a Laker. Kobe/Lebron could mean many championships for the Lakers, if they can only get along. Heck why not throw Dwight Howard into the mix, I’m sure he’d also want to come and play for the Lakers.
    Only imagine if this would happen, Then it would almost be like reliving the 80’s with Magic, Worthy, and Abdul-Jabbar. Only this time it would be Kobe, LeBron, and Howard.
    It could happen?

  3. lakersthe2010champs - Mar 1, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Unless Kobe ops out his contract, there is no possibility for Lebron to sign with Lakers. I bet the Mitch is praying for Kobe to op out his contract though.
    As a Laker fan, I’d say I would love to see Lebron in Purple and Gold.

  4. Anonymous - Mar 1, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Lebron beat kobe twice this season so why would he be jealous kobe weak lebron the king

  5. daryl - Mar 1, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    are you smoking kobe is in LA until he decides he has enough one or two more rings at best not before that Jackson would be the deciding factor to unless George Karl or Pat Riley leaves miami..

  6. WTF? - Mar 1, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    You have 6 players in your top five… Hmmm OK so if you’re bringing in guys off the bench, can Kobe get some plyaing time too?

  7. Anonymous - Mar 1, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    But Magic and West are both PG and Blgin is a tad worse than Kobe and Karremm not Wilt or Shaq should be Center

  8. FDJLakers - Mar 1, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    I have been a Laker’s fan my entire life…..but neither I nor my wife will go to the Staples Center again if James goes to the Lakers!!!! This is the guy who told his mother to “sit the F— down!” on national T.V.!
    I would have nothing to do with him or my hometown franschise! I’m not sure what I would do with all of my Laker’s jerseys, hats, coats, license plates, etc……But I sure as heck wouldn’t support Lebron’s Lakers!!!
    And to dismiss Kobe for such a classless jerk! Wow. This had better just be a dumb rumor!

  9. LA - Mar 1, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    If you can’t beat them , join them . lol

  10. Rick the D - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    I love it. Kobe threw the whole organization under the bus a few years ago. He effed up the 4peat with his Colorado rape thing and ran Karl Malone off. He nearly left and went to the Clippers and he’s got super high mileage. I think it would be awesome if LeBron came in and under bid Kobe for his spot. A true Lakers fan would go for this because it would be in the long term, best interest of the club and all the Kobe lovers could go love Kobe somewhere else. I love this rumor and will be hoping it comes true.

  11. Laker 4 Life - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:43 AM

    HELLO? 1st Wilt, 2nd Kareem, 3rd Shaq. See the pattern? L.A. has always been able to get the best player out there. All they need is to hold on to Bynum and Kobe. Imagine Lebron, Kobe and Bynum! Now thats what i call a BIG 3! And with Phil programming this monster do you need much more. Btw, is there a better fit for Lebrons’ personality than L.A.? And when Kobe’s done lebron will be what? 29? His PRIME! And Bynum 27!!!!!! Those 2 together could dominate the league for 5 years easily! We’re talking a decade of dominance in total! Smartest move ever!

  12. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    no matter where Lebron goes it a total wrap for the league! Laker Fan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  13. 5thStFreddie - Mar 3, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    Bravo, finally someone makes an accurate assessment of a POSSIBLE Lebron situation. I’ve been saying this all season. In the immediate future, Lebron is going nowhere. But in three years, when Kobe Bryant continues to disintegrate into “give me the damn ball” (his words) and dribble into double and triple coverage, Mitch Kupchak will move him out. If Lebron has not won at least two championships by then, he’ll be 28 and looking to move somewhere, and Los Angeles has been the home of wayward Hall of Famers for decades: Chamberlain, Jabbar, Shaq,Karl Malone, Payton, Gasol. It’s ultimately about the man in the front office, and Mitch Kupchak is the legitimate heir to Jerry West. And no, KOBE BRYANT IS NOT THE GREATEST LAKER EVER. Unless Lebron moves to Beverly Hills, Magic Johnson will carry that title for a long, long time. And yes, both Abdul Jabbar and Jerry West are better players than Kobe.

  14. VBLebardo - Mar 3, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    Post 87 Laker4Life: Where did you get the idea to put Andrew Bynum in the same superstar level as Lebron James and Kobe Bryant?
    He might very well be, but not now. Bynum has lots of growing up to do. A better choice might have been Ron Artest, a superstar in defense. Or Paul Gasol, a very intelligent player who makes his teammates play better.

  15. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    4 World Championship rings, including last years.

  16. HoopsMcCann - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    The Lakers already have in place a championship team for the next four years. All they need is a good point guard. In fact, they should just train Odom to be their starting point guard. Has anyone noticed when he brings the ball all the way up the court the Lakers score 80% of the time? Closest player to Magic I’ve ever seen – can play all 5 positions on the court. PJ, sit Odom down and make him watch Magic fast break tapes all summer and the Lakers will be unstoppable! Showtime II!

  17. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Mar 4, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    Interesting point, Hoops, since PJ has this preference for tall guards taking the point for the triangle offense.
    Odom should improve his dribbling abilities. He tends to have butterfingers when he brings down the ball. But man, Bynum and Gasol’s performance take a notch up when Odom is in the paint with them.

  18. Chuck - Mar 5, 2010 at 7:41 PM

    Not for a second could Kobe handle King James as a Laker. Hell, he couldn’t handle the fact that Shaq was always in the spotlight and so popular with the press and media. If Bryant isn’t the head of the class forget it. I wonder if he has any idea how many Kobe hater there are out there. More than most want to admit.

  19. tomasina - Mar 5, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    Nah.

  20. J'Money - Mar 6, 2010 at 1:52 AM

    Kobe (quoted by jerry west)”is the best laker of all time” they would never give him up

  21. Anthony - Mar 6, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Of all the conversations in basketball, the Kobe and Lebron topic will never seize to exist. Kobe will finish his career as a Laker and Lebron will stay a Cav., For one reason and one reason only. They are both ultimate competitors. what would be the point of having the two best players in the league on the same team. It kinda takes the fun out of the sport don’t you think. Continue to dream cause that’s all it ever will be ! Besides I think Lebron really wants to bring Cleveland the title its city and the fans have longed for. And what better way to bring it home than to take it from Kobe. IN L.A.!!! After that we’ll have somethin else to talk about. Then you could say, The Best from the West VS The Beast from the East. Now get your popcorn ready!!! Lebron in New York !

  22. Anthony - Mar 6, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Of all the conversations in basketball, the Kobe and Lebron topic will never seize to exist. Kobe will finish his career as a Laker and Lebron will stay a Cav., For one reason and one reason only. They are both ultimate competitors. what would be the point of having the two best players in the league on the same team. It kinda takes the fun out of the sport don’t you think. Continue to dream cause that’s all it ever will be ! Besides I think Lebron really wants to bring Cleveland the title its city and the fans have longed for. And what better way to bring it home than to take it from Kobe. IN L.A.!!! After that we’ll have somethin else to talk about. Then you could say, The Best from the West VS The Beast from the East. Now get your popcorn ready!!! Lebron in New York !

  23. Glen - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    It would be awesome to see Lebron James come to LA, even if it means that Kobe has to go(not that I would like to see that happen.) But, I’d rather see a person who is a team oriented player. I think with Lebron we may be able to see Showtime revive again!!
    Lebron!!!! Come to LA! We’re waiting!

  24. stephan schreiber - Mar 14, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    shut up about lebron james he is not better than kobey bryant lebron even admits that kobey bryant is better than him if kobey leaves the lakers the lakers will be losing a hole lot more games even if lebron james comes to the lakers they wont do good as they use to everyone know that kobey bryant should be getting more respect than whats he be getting right now

  25. Old School - Mar 17, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Can you imagine what Phil Knight of Nike can do with this if this happens, and it going to happen? Don’t underestimate Kobe’s desire to win championships. The Lakers have the money, the history, and former players who’ve sarificed for the franchise in the past to win titles and you can bet they will be in Kobe’s ear to let him know how important it is to his legacy & the Lakers. If you know anything about the history game or Lakers, Magic Johnson gave the orgainzation back millions of dollars to sign George Teague & Mychal Thompson to keep pace with the Celtics and the endorsement money for players in those days nowhere near what the players command now. And remember they are the best of friends evening before playing on the “Dream Team” two summer ago!
    I know Dwayne Wade is lobbying for LeBron and him to play together, but Los Angeles is different animal, just ask Shaq, he know he could alot more titles with Kobe & Phil! So let’s talk about what Kobe owes the Lakers;
    1. Kobe has to remember when he was about to lose everything stemming from the rape charge in Denver, the Lakers believed in him and basiclly covered his endorsement money when Nike & Sprite pull back some of their monies! Bryant last contract was around $138 millions and with Nike’s “Most Valuable Puppets” campaign with LeBron has brought back finanical stability to his life.
    Jerry Buss 1 Kobe 0
    2. Remember when Kobe threaten a couple years ago to leave if the Lakers didn’t upgrade themselves to compete for the title, Jerry Buss stepped up to the plate and delivered Pau Gasol and they have a chance to repeat as champions. And this summer he sign off on the deal to aquire Artest a player who he said could help in win his fifth ring!
    Jerry Buss 2 Kobe 0
    3. Jerry Buss is probably on of the best owner in professinoal sports and is extremely loyal to the fans of the Lakers. Kobe will end his career as a Laker, like Magic, West, and Baylor, but he must sarfice his next deal to be a true Laker! This will always be Kobe’s team as long as he in a Laker uniform, so bringing in LeBron just enhances his ability to end his career with the most title in Lakers history and surpass his idol Michael Jordan in ring counts. Kobe here your chance to score your biggest point as a Laker! If you do, Jerry will cover the luxury tax, trust me!
    Jerry Buss 3 Kobe 1
    4. Kobe has to also realize he will get more money on the back end of his next deal in endorsements if he is tied into LeBron’s cash cow machine! Michael & Scottie were the best duo ever, but a Kobe / Lebron tandem in Los Angeles would blow the Jordan days out of the water! Kobe hit the 3 pointer!
    Jerry Buss 3 Kobe 2
    5. Just think the two best players with the biggest shoes contracts, LA as the back drop, and a core that has sign for the next four years {Gasol, Artest, Odom, Farmar,& Bryum} , and got to figure Phil Jackson not going to let anybody coach this group {Lakers Vice Pres, girl friend, and boss daughter Jennie Buss will make sure of that even if you have to roll him out there in wheelchair} and Phil Knight’s is probably already telling his marketing crew change the campaign to “The Most Valuable Partners”
    Jerry Buss 3 Kobe 2 Phil Kinght 1
    6. So, Kobe if you are listening “You owe it to the two men who stood by you when you needed them the most Jerry Buss & Phil Knight” and “Jack Nicolson” needs a really good reason to renew his season tickets!

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