Execs: Lakers Want To Be In Play For LeBron In 2014
The Los Angeles Lakers are positioning the franchise to pursue LeBron James in 2014, according to the thinking of several executives from rival teams.
James can opt out of his contract as soon as 2014.
The Lakers are on pace to have enough cap space to sign a maximum contract player like James as the contracts of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill expire following the 13-14 season.
"It's not a mistake that all those deals end the same year Kobe's does. They have probably been planning for their next phase for a while," said one general manager. "The Busses and [Lakers GM] Mitch [Kupchak] are always thinking about the next big deal."
James has given no indication that he is interested in leaving the Heat, but he is still expected to opt out in 2014 since he is not currently on a true max contract.
"The agent part probably doesn't matter. LeBron is the best player in the league and he's making less than the max, so unless he's seriously hurt he's going to opt out in 2014, if only because I would assume he wants and deserves to get a true max," said one league executive. "Even if the Heat win the next two titles there's a feeling that LeBron is going to become a free agent in two years no matter what."