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LeBron James shoots down Lakers free agency rumors

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Anyone hoping the King would end up in Los Angeles is going to be disappointed, but this isn't surprising.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the weirdest subplots of the 2016 NBA Finals were the rumors that LeBron James was potentially gearing up to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers if they won. Not even if they lost, if they were victorious over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, he might consider leaving. At least that's what the rumors suggested.

The whole situation got even more bizarre in the aftermath of the Cavaliers' first title in franchise history, with Stephen A. Smith of ESPN going on any airwaves that would have him (which turned out to be quite a few) to discuss the possibility of James heading to the Los Angeles Lakers.

While Smith has been plugged in on James' leanings in the past, it's not exactly a shocking revelation that Ohio's favorite son offered a strong denial to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com about any rumors he intends to abandon the defending champions at their victory parade on Wednesday:

"I love it here. I love being here. I love my teammates," James told cleveland.com, moments before he boarded a float at The Q for the Cavs' championship parade through downtown Cleveland. "Obviously my agent will take care of all the logistical things but, I'm happy. I've got no plans to go nowhere at this point... This is the happiest time in my life right now."

Things are of course always subject to change, but that does not sound like a man jonesing for a change of scenery, and the whole "James to L.A." thing always seemed like the type of dream so unrealistic it would cause you to question it even while you slumbered.

Instead, the Lakers seem likely to continue with a more methodical rebuild. The team is all but certain to select Duke forward Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and while he is certainly not a player of LeBron's caliber, he is a more realistic way to fill the Lakers' desperate needs on the wing while continuing with a more natural rebuild.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.