With these two stories combined, the NBA world has gone frantic with the endless possibilities in which such decisions could lead to.
For those in doubt of the likelihood of such an extreme course of action, put your skepticism to rest.
One of the Lakers high executives has confirmed that the franchise will make noise during the 2014 period of free agency.
According to Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register, majority owner Jerry Buss has big plans for his Lakers. Come 2014, those plans will finally come to fruition as the Hall of Famer pursues all of the stars that he can find in free agency.
And don't think that this is set to transpire based off of pure coincidence.
"We purposely ended all contracts [in 2014]," [Lakers majority owner Jerry] Buss said. "I can't talk about Kobe [Bryant], but this is what he signed till. So basically we put everything to that, and we want to make a big splash in the free-agent market if we get to that spot. So we designed the contracts and the players and our future all around that."
"Yeah, depending on the free agents that year," Buss said. "We would basically, money-wise, be able to sign the top free agent – maybe even two. I don't know the numbers exactly, because we're not privy to what the cap is and how much room we have, but it's going to be close to two of the top free agents that year."
For those in need of proof surrounding the Lakers' desire to sign LeBron James, this is it.
In just two short years, you could witness LeBron wearing the same purple and gold that made his most realistic comparison a legend. That, of course, would be Magic Johnson.
The Return of Showtime
With Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, it is fair to say that Showtime has returned to Los Angeles.
The truth of the matter is that the Lakers will run the Princeton offense and utilize supreme fundamentals to achieve victory. The flashy finishes may come, but the Lakers will win based off of their superior knowledge of the game.
Come 2014, the assumption here is that the Lakers will have resigned Howard for the long-term. Bryant and Gasol, meanwhile, will be entering one of two periods: free agency or retirement.
For that reason, we cannot help but imagine the endless possibilities, but most specifically, the possibility that Showtime will actually return to L.A.
With LeBron James on the team, comparisons to Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers are almost certain to arise. With Dwight Howard playing the role of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the flash and dominance of the purple and gold will bear an even greater resemblance to its past.
And don't forget, cap space for another superstar will likely be available. The 2014 Lakers could even sign a current version of James Worthy to round Showtime out.
Entering the 2014 period of free agency, the Miami Heat will be significantly older. Dwyane Wade will be 32, Chris Bosh will be 30 and Ray Allen will hit 39 during that period of contractual relocations.
The question LeBron must answer for himself is whether he wants to work with aging perimeter players or head out west to play alongside the most dominant big man in the game.
Chances are he'll try his luck with a financially free franchise that has Dwight Howard and Steve Nash already under contract.
After all, passers and interior defenders have proven to be of greater longevity than motion scorers and slashers.
Lakers Will Pass Up on LeBron? C'mon Man
If the Los Angeles Lakers are unable to sign LeBron James, how exactly do they plan to maintain a level of greatness after Kobe Bryant's potential retirement?
Although Dwight Howard and Steve Nash would have one more year together, the roster would be virtually gutted.
Howard can lead this team, but do the Lakers want him to do that alone?
If the Lakers want to maintain the pace that they've set for virtually two decades, the only option is to sign the best player in the world.
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant ruled the league for almost 15 years, respectively. Howard may even be able to follow in their footsteps. With all of this being noted, let's acknowledge some facts.
If you believe that the Lakers will pass up on the opportunity to acquire LeBron James to lead this team to yet another era of dominance, you are off your rocker.
This team accepts nothing short of the elite, which is exactly what James is.
Ask yourself one question. If Michael Jordan became a free agent in his prime and your team had the money available to sign him, wouldn't you try to do it?