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Could Lakers be planning to make 2014 run at LeBron?

Oct 18, 2012, 1:22 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

It’s a series of coincidences… or are they?

• In the summer of 2014, LeBron James can opt out of his deal with the Miami Heat and become a free agent. (So can both Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.)

• While the Lakers have geared up for an expensive two-year run at a title, in the summer of 2014 Kobe Bryant may well retire and every player not named Steve Nash comes off the payroll (although the Lakers want to and likely will re-sign Dwight Howard to a max deal next summer).

A lot of NBA executives do not believe in coincidences — they think the Lakers are targeting LeBron, reports Brian Windhorst at ESPN.

Several teams’ executives have told ESPN.com 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….

“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.”

There are a whole lot of things that could blow that plan up.

For one, LeBron James could win another ring or two and decide he doesn’t want to break up the big three in Miami. He may well opt out in 2014 only to re-sign in Miami with a max deal (remember he took less to make the Heat come together). After his last free agent experience he may not be eager to go down that road again (although you have to think it would be handled better).

Then there is Kobe, who has talked openly about retirement, but if the Lakers win a ring and they have Nash and Howard that next season, Kobe may come back for another year or two to chase more titles. He likely would take a Kevin Garnett/Tim Duncan style pay cut for that next contract, but that likely kills a shot at James.

And those are just the obvious ones.

But after the moves the Lakers have pulled off, both this past summer and really throughout the franchise’s history, it would not be a shock that they are thinking about it.

Frankly, I’m not sure it’s a shock if they pulled it off.

  1. UCFpirate - Oct 18, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Lebron already has a title. He doesn’t need to go to LA. He’s more likely to land in Cleveland than LA and that prob won’t happen for another 7-10 years.

  2. fnc111 - Oct 18, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Why does the NBA have so many teams? Only a select handful are allowed to win.

    • progress2011 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:52 PM

      Political – Local officials, governors, mayors, councilmen etc. boost the local economy by bringing corporations, in this case NBA teams to their cities

      Social – The sports “Fanaticism” promotes unity within communities, builds statehood and a strong sub-culture of citizens with a common goal….Ex: Green Bay. This (of course) is an NFL team, but the social culture of every citizen in GB, is predicated on the success of that team.

      Economical- NBA teams, as with any corporation, brings thousands of jobs to regional and local communities. From Concession stand workers to team execs, to local manufacturers, car companies, housing, trucking companies and any other facet of business you can imagine.

      So, I digress ! Because of the countless benefits Corporations (in this case NBA teams) bring to local communities, states and ultimately the overall economy of our country, I would like to see a team in EVERY state.

      It’s bigger than just the talent on the floor.

  3. cantonbound13 - Oct 18, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    It would be hilarious to see what these bandwagon Heat fans do if that happens. Will they defend him like they did when he left Cleveland? I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them became Laker fans.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      So I’m not allowed to be a LeBron James fan? I have to root for the team nearest me (Bobcats) just because some imaginary sports etiquette says so? No thanks.

    • southbeachtalent - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Wouldn’t matter at all to me. Brought my team a championship, let him do as he pleases. He’d be a moron not to opt out in 2014.

      • bougin89 - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM

        southbeach…I’m not a Heat fan but I agree with you that Lebron would be a moron not to opt out. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will leave the Heat but why wouldn’t he opt out and at least sign a Max deal to remain with the Heat. The Heat may have some tough decisions down the road with the luxury tax especially if all 3 of the big 3 opt out and want to re-up for max deals. Maybe they take a discount again but I see all 3 of them at least going after more guaranteed money.

    • Legacy112 - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      We’re not like boston. We won’t delete your number or treat you like an ex-girlfriend. Thanks for the championships. We are grateful for your hard work and understand you gotta do whats best for you. Its better to have loved and won a championship then to have you bomb and make a spectacle of my city(::clears throat:: …dwight howard)

      • badintent - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:59 PM

        Funny ! nice

  4. birdsflynorth206 - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Who cares!! it’s 2012 lets worry about this season. We should be talking about the Heat defending their title or the up and coming teams. Not about what Lebron is going to do in 2014.

  5. lakerluver - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I’ve been saying this for a year now!! The LAKERS didn’t get Dwight for a 2-3 year window of winning, followed by years of mediocrity. That’s not the way the LAKERS do things!! Watch and see what happens when Kobe/Nash/MWP/Pau come off the books!!!

    • mannyfresh209 - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      You’ve been saying this for a year now, despite the Lakers having Dwight for less than half a year? Explain this blasphemy at once

      • progress2011 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:33 PM

        Ahahahaha…MannyFresh,

        Fakerluver makes his gibberish up, as he goes and then attempts to be some sort of a philosopher, by claiming ” I’ve been saying this for a year now” ….ahahahah

        Fake folk love the Fake team…..they are all FAKERS !!!!

        AHAHAHAHAH!!!!

  6. zerole00 - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Anyone else think the NBA would be more competitive if they just cut the # of teams in half? I mean let’s face it, there’s basically 3 tiers of teams.
    1) Maybe 1 All-Star quality player, bleh supporting cast that generally keeps them from the play offs
    2) 1-2 All-Star(s) with a bleh supporting cast that’ll get them into the play offs and a round 1 or 2 knock out
    3) 2+ All-Stars with a quality supporting cast that’ll make them contenders
    Bench depth is arguable with all 3 tiers.

    Anyway, I think most of us could easily name what tier each team would fall under and the consensus would be generally the same. It’s kinda sad.

    • mannyfresh209 - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      Same with the NFL. Same with MLB. Same with the NHL. Get a clue bro, it’s a business these owners are in. They make money despite having horrible teams.

      • zerole00 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:04 PM

        Says who? There was an article about championships within the 4 major sports and basketball had the far narrower spread of teams who’ve won a championship. Hell, look at how many the Lakers and Celtics have won combined compared to the rest of the league in the past 30 years.

        Whether you like the NFL or not, teams bounce back much more quickly and are more competitive because of the shear roster size. Hell, look at how bad the Vikings were last season and how well they’re doing now. Or vice versa for the Saints.

      • zerole00 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:05 PM

        By the way, I made no mention of money. See the first sentence:
        “Anyone else think the NBA would be more competitive…”

      • progress2011 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:43 PM

        Zero,

        You have a legit claim.

        However, it’s political, social and economical as to why there are so many teams. It’s not just about the sport being competitive.

        Political – Local officials, governors, mayors, councilmen etc. boost the local economy by bringing corporations, in this case NBA teams to their cities

        Social – The sports “Fanaticism” promotes unity within communities, builds statehood and a strong sub-culture of citizens with a common goal….Ex: Green Bay. This (of course) is an NFL team, but the social culture of every citizen in GB, is predicated on the success of that team.

        Economical- NBA teams, as with any corporation, brings thousands of jobs to regional and local communities. From Concession stand workers to team execs, to local manufacturers, car companies, housing, trucking companies and any other facet of business you can imagine.

        So, I digress ! Because of the countless benefits Corporations (in this case NBA teams) bring to local communities, states and ultimately the overall economy of our country, I would like to see a team in EVERY state.

        It’s bigger than just the talent on the floor.

      • zerole00 - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:45 AM

        I know Progress, and I actually support sports teams in every state because they bring in a lot of revenue to local businesses. As I said above, my original post was based solely on a competition standpoint.

  7. miamatt - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    I’m sure the Lakers have a plan to rebuild around Howard after the older guys move on, and if any team could pull off something this rediculous, it is the non-Clippers LA team.

    But c’mon. Things would have to seriously blow up in Miami, like a falling out with Wade, or Riley stepping down and a major change in opperating style, for LBJ to leave. Never say never, but really now, this is pure speculation and in no way, shape, or form, actuall news.

    The season needs to start already, NBA sportswriters are getting desperate.

    • badintent - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      I lived in NYC, Miami, San Diego and Seattle. Trust me , ain’t no way LeBron gives up that life style, mega yacht, private mansion on private island, great winter weather, great clubs, and a super -competitive management team. All LA has to match is Marina del Rey and you can’t sail to Bahamas in 5 hours , only boring Catalina with a bunch of old goats.Baaaaaaaaaaa ! Orlando is second rate to Miami for life style, nice weather and lots of golf courses, but the beach is a hour drive and it’s just boring crab shacks at New Smytha. No clubs, only Girls gone Wild video shoots for spring break. Where is Snoop Dogg when ya need him ???……………………….

  8. 00maltliquor - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    I wouldn’t put it past them and rule it out, that’s for sure!

    And why would’t he at least consider it? It’s LA. Still got beaches. Still got bi***es. D Wade will be old and broken down by then and Chris Bosh is Chris Bosh. He wouldn’t trade that in for Dwight Howard and join forces with another big superstar, like, say, Kevin Love or someone of his caliber?

    You can’t say he wouldn’t ’cause history already proves he would. Plus he has no ties to Miami, dude left his Hometown team in chase of a ring (yes, I know he’s from Akron for Christ sakes, but how many other teams are from Cleveland? Akron is just a hop skip and a jump away. That’s his Home Team dammit!).

    Decision Part 2!!! As Bart Scott once said, ” CAN’T WAIT!!”

  9. 00maltliquor - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    *…how many other teams are from Ohio?

  10. e39er - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    There is a reason why the Lakers along with a few other franchises have a history of winning, it’s having the right GM working for you, an Owner who isn’t afraid of spending which allows us to be competitive, Lakers are not known to having high draft picks to develop so they pursue another way of winning, most franchises around the league are plague with either unqualified GM or a owner who believes in penny pinching (Clippers) i’m sorry but i do not feel the league needs to be cut down since only a few teams are winning, in fact the other teams that have never been to a finals actually should start looking at the lucky few (Lakers, Celtics, Heats) and see what it takes to win, MONEY $$$$$, not every team can be like OKC or Spurs who draft stars outright, and the league has always been what it is, a few super teams over a bunch of average teams, with that said i wouldn’t be surprised if Lebron would jump ship and head to Los Angeles, after all what are these players playing in the NBA for? championships not loyalty with a team

    • zerole00 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      Spending huh? Let’s see how much any owner is willing to go into luxury tax territory under the new CBA. It’s what, double or twice what the current tax is now? I believe I read somewhere the price is also increased if you do so consecutively.

  11. zacksdad - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    I just do not see this happening. I am a Laker fan and would probably like it. But for it to happen, a couple of things would have to happen. First of all Miami cannot win another title in that time. Secondly Lakers would need to one or both. If the Lakers win one or two, Mike Brown stays on to coach. And if they do, can Mike Brown and Lebron co-exist.

    • mannyfresh209 - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      Uh….duh….

  12. jikkle49 - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    I don’t think it’s necessarily to take a run at Lebron but they are clearly setting themselves up for the post Kobe era and having the means to retool the team around Howard.

    Whether you love or hate them you have to admit the Lakers are a very well run franchise because no matter the sport all successful franchises always have one eye the present and one eye towards the future.

  13. comeonnowguys - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    A league where a majority of the superstars play only for two or three teams would pretty much end my active interest in the NBA.

    It’d be 3 Harlem Globetrotters with a few dozen Washington Generals.

  14. lakerluver - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    @manny
    Since shortly after LeBron signed with Miami I’ve been saying the LAKERS will make a run at him. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that. The LAKERS always go after elite free agents and LeBron will be the elite of the elite in a few seasons. After the LAKERS got Dwight I started saying it even more. It makes perfect sense. And, as the article says, it is no coincidence that the LAKERS big contract players are all coming off the books at the same time. By the time LeBron can leave Miami, Wade will be a shell of his former self, while Dwight will still be in his prime. One doesn’t have to be Einstein to realize that playing in L.A. with Dwight would be appealing to just about any free agent.

    • Legacy112 - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      Kobe isn’t retiring until 2016. He’s gonna go to germany and take as many shots as he can to keep playing for as long as he can. So I don’t see this happening. S*** would really have to go bad in miami for lebron to leave. He’s the happiest he’s ever been right now. But if he does leave I see brooklyn as the most likely to get him.

    • lookitsgreen - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      you need to chill out with the LAKERS caps

  15. lakerluver - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    @manny, I was saying this BEFORE the LAKERS signed Howard. This might be news to you but it’s been talked about in L. A. for two years now.

  16. lakerluver - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    @lookitsgreen
    Obviously, I have to explain this again, soooo, here we go!! I capitalize LAKERS because greatness demands and merits respect (which is something some of you don’t seem to have!). The LAKERS are “arguably” the greatest franchise in all of professional sports. Therefore, whenever I mention the LAKERS I am compelled to use all caps. I would appreciate it if you would do the same, my friend. Thanks for your cooperation.

  17. misterdreamer119 - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    The sing of the apocalypes if Bron comes to hollywood. Id call him a hoe!

  18. paulhargis53 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    lookitsgreen: You have to understand that lakerswallower is a teenage girl when it comes to the Lakers. You know what’s horrifying about this whole deal? The guy is actually a 38 year old man acting like this. It’s quite the sad situation. You should pity him. He’s living vicariously through a sports team. Sadly, he thinks he’s the normal one. His only goal is to get a Dirty Sanchez from a laker.

    • bougin89 - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      I have to agree about the teenage girl comment about lakerluver.

      If you had to guess who had lakerluver as a screen name would you pick A. Grown Man B. Grown Woman C Teenage Girl?

      I’d pick C with B being my second choice thats for sure.

      Also, I’ve been wondering for quite a while if anyone else hears a teenage girls voice when they read lakerluvers comments? The comments are totally biased and with the whole LAKERS thing that just screams teenage girl to me.

  19. lakerluver - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Let him fight his own battles, ph530lbs, you can’t even fight your own! Just go away, you have proven you know absolutely nothing about the NBA.

  20. lakerluver - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Hmmm, make it up as I go, huh? As I said earlier, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict what the LAKERS are going to do. Just a bit of common sense, which is something many of you clowns lack. Go LAKERS!!!

    • progress2011 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:18 PM

      FAKER !

      1. A person who fakes, deceptive, or fraudulent/ A faker: Ex: kobe has spent his entire career, faking like he is Michael Jordan.

      2. To conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive: Ex: The story was faked a bit to make the lakers appear more sensational.

      3. To pretend; simulate: (to fake greatness by cheating).

      4. Anything made to appear otherwise than it actually is; counterfeit: Ex: The lakers historically have been able to do trades, other teams were not permitted to complete.

      5.Designed to deceive or cheat, not real, counterfeit. Ex: During the playoffs or championships, the lakers have historically received “questionable/ favorable ” calls, which has been a direct result of their number of championships and the evolution of becoming the biggest/ richest market in the sport.

      People don’t “hate” the lakers….we typically just dislike anything FAKE !

    • spthegr8 - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      @lakerluver
      ALL of these LAKER hater’s, lack common sense as well as KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT BASKETBALL!!! Just look @ it like this. Come June they will 1 more reason to HATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!#NUM17ISONTHEWAY

  21. paulhargis53 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Go away? You’ve been begging me for responses for 5 days running! Anyone who reads the boards regularly has seen that.
    I’m not “fighting his battles” for him. I’m giving him background info on you, so he knows what type of sociopath he is dealing with.
    Seems to me that you have several battles going on( none of which you are getting the upper hand in) that right there should help you discern who the problem is.

    I bet every time your mother sees you, she boos her vagina.

  22. lakerluver - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Speaking of “gibberish”! Dude, even in life you have “the haves” and “the have nots”. This isn’t t-ball where everybody wins. Getting back to my other point…I’m not trying to come off as a “philosopher”. I’ve followed the LAKERS for 30 plus years and know how they operate. The only goal is to hang another banner. Therefore, predicting that they will attempt to sign a top free agent is simple. That’s what they do. It’s the same thing the Yankees do.

    • progress2011 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      Fakerluver…

      Great comparison,

      I use the yankee and laker comparison regularly. They both are FAKERS and both have successfully and under-handily, received success by “PURCHASING IT” !!!

      Not because they were better sportsmen !

      Reference my post describing what FAKE is…I’m certain you can relate !

    • bougin89 - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      lakerluver, you can’t be more wrong. Within the rules of the NBA the lakers acquiring Steve Nash was legal. But not every team could financially afford to do so. That is where it is not a level playing field. You are biased to the point of ignorant because you can’t seem to understand this. The lakers made smart moves this offseason? I would say yes. Did they do them because they are one of only a very few(if not the only team) able to financially afford to make those moves? Again yes.

  23. lakerluver - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    They have 16 banners…and counting…hanging from the rafters of the Staples. If you choose to pretend like they don’t exist that’s your choice, my friend. I choose to deal in reality. Anyway, Go LAKERS!!!

    • progress2011 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:35 PM

      No, we all realize the banners exist.

      HOWEVER, what most of us disagree with, is HOW they were obtained.

      FAKER !

      1. A person who fakes, deceptive, or fraudulent/ A faker: Ex: kobe has spent his entire career, faking like he is Michael Jordan.

      2. To conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive: Ex: The story was faked a bit to make the lakers appear more sensational.

      3. To pretend; simulate: (to fake greatness by cheating).

      4. Anything made to appear otherwise than it actually is; counterfeit: Ex: The lakers historically have been able to do trades, other teams were not permitted to complete.

      5.Designed to deceive or cheat, not real, counterfeit. Ex: During the playoffs or championships, the lakers have historically received “questionable/ favorable ” calls, which has been a direct result of their number of championships and the evolution of becoming the biggest/ richest market in the sport.

      People don’t “hate” the lakers….we typically just dislike anything FAKE !

      • spthegr8 - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        @progress2011
        People don’t hate the lakers…… we typically just dislike anything FAKE!!!
        What is fake about the LAKERS??????? The fact that our front office( I say “our’s” cuz I am A DIE HARD LAKER FAN) Make the CORRECT front office move’s EVERY YEAR!!!!! The fact that we don’t OVERPAY the wrong ppl like ALOT of teams do every year. It is easy to hate the teams that are BEST & when it come’s to basketball. NOBODY does it better then the “LAKESHOW”. So what you call “FAKE”, I call smart. Tomato tomoto, I guess it depends on how you look @ it. But for someone who doesn’t “hate” the LAKERS, you sound pretty BITTER!!!!!! Just Saying!!!!!

  24. hojo20 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    The NBA should become a 6 team league. East: NY, Chicago, Miami. West: Dallas, LAL, LAC.

  25. paulhargis53 - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Zero: I agree with you. All sports leagues are watered down talent wise. Look at the Center position in the NBA. Or Quarterback in the NFL. Or starting pitching in baseball.

    There are great players in all the league’s,but the talent level isn’t what it once was.

    Football was best at 28 teams, baseball at 26 and basketball should have stopped at the ABA/NBA merger.

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