Marc Stein: 'Don't Discount' LeBron James and Chris Paul Teaming Up on Lakers

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 8, 2018

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 9:  Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets talks with LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers on NOVEMBER 9, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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If LeBron James leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer, he could potentially team up with Chris Paul in Hollywood.

Marc Stein of the New York Times suggested Friday that James could try to recruit Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Don't discount the idea that James could try to bring Paul with him to a team that can afford two superstars, such as the Lakers, because he and Paul really are that close," Stein wrote.

James holds a $35.6 million option with Cleveland for the 2018-19 season, per Spotrac. Paul, meanwhile, will be an unrestricted free agent following his first season with the Houston Rockets.

Stein noted the belief from people in the NBA is that James' top priority is "chasing championships," which likely means he'll head to a franchise in a better position to upgrade its roster than the Cavs.

James and Paul are close friends as part of the "Banana Boat" crew that also includes Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

The Lakers currently have $39 million in salary commitments next season. The NBA salary cap for 2018-19 will be $101 million with the luxury tax at $123 million, giving Los Angeles the ability to add two max contracts.

Despite missing the playoffs with a 35-47 record last season, the Lakers showed substantial improvement. It was their most wins since the 2012-13 campaign, and rookies Kyle Kuzma (16.1 points per game) and Lonzo Ball (7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds) showed great promise in their professional debuts.

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