"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.