LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — LeBron James flew back to Los Angeles from a family vacation in the Caribbean. He could be there longer than usual if the L.A. Lakers have their way.
James flew into Van Nuys Airport Saturday morning on a private jet from Anguilla, according ESPN reporter Arash Markazi. Photos posted to social media showed him at the airport with his luggage waiting to get into an SUV.
At 9:01 p.m. Saturday, the three-time NBA champion will be an unrestricted free agent, and agent Rich Paul is expected to contact several teams with the Lakers and Cavs atop his list.
James has two homes and a film production company in L.A. The Lakers are hoping they can persuade him to sign with them and return them to glory.
Los Angeles is among the teams in the mix to land James after his agent told the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday that he will not exercise his $35.6 million contract option for next season.
By declining his option, James positioned himself to be able to choose where he’ll play next, and Cleveland, just up the road from his home near Akron, remains a strong possibility. But there are at least three other teams — and maybe an outsider or two — with legitimate shots at landing James, who made it clear following this year’s NBA Finals that he’s still driven to win championships.
While every team dreams of being ruled by King James, only a few have a legit chance of signing him.
On Saturday night it was reported that Paul George will be staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder on a reported four year, $137 million deal. George was rumored to be a candidate to join James in LA with the Lakers.
The Lakers could still add Kawhi Leonard or DeMarcus Cousins to a team featuring up-and-coming talents like Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, who is reportedly dealing with a knee injury. James loves the Hollywood lights, and with two homes in the Los Angeles area as well as a film production company, he has already established some roots in the land of movie stars and slow-moving traffic. The appeal of playing for one of the league’s most storied teams is another allure.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)