Report: LeBron James Preferred Knicks to Lakers in 2018; Wife Savannah Wanted LA Move

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 21, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson defends during the first half of an NBA basketball Western Conference Play-In game Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

LeBron James had a decision to make in the summer of 2018, when he became a free agent following his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to Lisa Robinson of Vanity Fair, James was set on heading to the New York Knicks, but Savannah James, his wife, preferred L.A.

Robinson made the comments on the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports):

"We heard that LeBron wanted to come to New York. And I have really good sources about this, that he was thinking about coming to New York but that his wife wanted to be in Los Angeles, wanted the kids to go to school in Los Angeles, and that just kiboshed the whole thing."

The Lakers were the best destination basketball-wise between the two choices. L.A. went just 35-47 the year before but had young and promising talent, including Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma.

New York was 29-53 and fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after the year ended. The Knicks were also still in flux after parting ways with top basketball executive Phil Jackson before the 2017-18 campaign started and were undergoing a constant roster churn, to the point where Frank Ntilikina is the only player on the 2017-18 roster still with the team.

Both teams have passionate fanbases, but the Knicks are far more starved for championship glory considering they haven't won an NBA title since 1973. Prior to last season's title, the Lakers previous championship win came in 2010. James would have been a Knicks icon if he had taken the team to the promised land at the legendary Madison Square Garden.

James ultimately made a good decision, though. He won an NBA title with the Lakers last year and is looking for back-to-back championships this season after L.A. qualified for the playoffs Wednesday with a 103-100 win over the Golden State Warriors in the play-in round.

After a couple losing seasons following James' free-agency decision, the Knicks are doing well themselves, going 41-31 this year and making the playoffs for the first time since 2013.