Adrian Wojnarowski: LeBron James, Paul George Will Have to Talk About Lakers

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives against Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

That sound you hear in the background? Los Angeles Lakers fans rifling through their old Photoshop piles.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported LeBron James and Paul George will need to have a discussion about teaming up with the Lakers this summer (h/t Rob Lopez of Def Pen Sports).

James and George are considered the two best gettable free agents on the open market. Kevin Durant can also become an unrestricted free agent, but it feels like little more than a formality he'll re-sign with the Golden State Warriors.

James' free-agency decision will once again put a holding pattern on moves in early July—whether his destination is the Lakers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers or Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland's struggles to build a competent supporting cast around him make it feel like an underdog, especially given the herculean effort it took for James to lead the Cavs to a fourth straight Finals.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 13:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder hug after the game on February 13, 2018 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

Philly and Houston offer the best options as far as team success. The Sixers have a promising young roster—more promising than that of the Lakers—and ample cap space. It's within the realm of possibility they sign James outright and then flip their considerable assets (Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington) to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.

The Rockets were a game away from making the Finals this season, have likely MVP James Harden and seem almost certain to re-sign Chris Paul, one of James' best friends.

If James were to sign with the Lakers, even with George in tow, he wouldn't be in a better position to win championships. He'd be in a more difficult conference and have only one star by his side. L.A. could move Kyle Kuzma and/or Lonzo Ball for Leonard, but that would leave it with three stars compared to Golden State's four and would require an awful lot of moving parts.

George remains the likeliest fit with the Lakers for a number of reasons. He didn't have his best season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, is from the L.A. area and has openly spoken of the appeal of playing with the Lakers. It's not hard to find anyone who thinks it's something of a foregone conclusion he will sign with Los Angeles.