An interesting article came out on ESPN today about the possibility of LeBron James joining the Lakers once he has the option to become a free agent in 2014.
It makes sense.
Kobe has said that he'll likely retire at the end of this contract, which ends in 2014, which means a ton of salary will come off the books, making room for a big name player.
LeBron hasn't given any indication of what he'll do in 2014, as well he shouldn't. It took the man years and a championship for the general public to stop ridiculing him for “The Decision.” So whatever he chooses to do during free agency, you can bet that he'll make a swift, well-thought-out choice.
However, the horrible backlash from him choosing to go to Miami could keep him there. It seems like LeBron is a player who cares about what people say about him and being well-liked, so he may want to not make any waves.
It will also depend on the teams. Dwight Howard is not definitely coming back to Los Angeles after this year, so without him, it's unlikely that LeBron would come to LA.
Even without Dwight, the Lakers have a lot of room to sign big name players who could help draw LeBron westward. Steve Nash will be the only player on the payroll, as of now, and he'll be getting $9.7 million.
Obviously LeBron wouldn't even speculate about this right now. He's got a championship to defend and while the Lakers' front office is always thinking ahead, the team is focusing on the present.
The Clippers are another option, because LeBron likes playing with Chris Paul. But anyone who knows the Clippers shouldn't expect them to spring for another big contract when they already have a couple on the books.
Until LeBron says anything, this is all just a lot of facts and suppositions. Sure, the Lakers would love for LeBron to carry on the torch after Kobe is gone, and they'll try to make it happen, but only LeBron can go where he wants.