It’s not as crazy as it might sound. From Karl Malone to Michael Jordan, plenty of future Hall of Famer’s have drastically changed their situations relatively late in their careers.
Does it work? Not often.
With Lakers current aging star Kobe Bryant approaching retirement, the team would potentially have the cap space to sign LeBron when he can opt out of his current deal with the Miami Heat after the 2013-14 season.
Bryant has long said he would retire from basketball at the age of 35. That coincides directly with LeBron’s contract expiration.
For LeBron’s part, he is saying all the right things so far. “I’m here, and this is what it’s all about,” James said after the Heat’s 105-78 preseason win over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday. “I’m preparing for this season, preparing to defend our title and that’s it. This is where … I’m here now.”
Of course he is going to say that. We shouldn’t forget who this guy really is, however. This is the guy who actually had a one-hour special on ESPN to announce his free-agency decision. That’s not such a huge deal normally, but when you’re using that platform to slap your hometown in the face, it becomes a big deal.
Given the opportunity, James will go wherever he thinks he can win titles. He has demonstrated that, while supremely physically gifted, he cannot win by himself. He needs a big supporting cast. If he feels in a couple years that Wade’s game is diminishing and Bosh is exactly what we thought he was all along, he just might bolt to the Golden Coast.
After all, he would presumably have a dominant center in Dwight Howard. We know how helpful a dominant big man can be, especially in a Western Conference that really lacks a true center.
Los Angeles will be interested in acquiring James’ services, that’s not a real question. The real question here is will Kobe retire when he says he will? Clearly slowing but still an All-Star caliber player, Bryant might want to stick around a while longer.
For the time being, James remains in Miami. We’ll see what kinds of things he starts saying over the next year and a half.