After missing out on Paul George just minutes into the official start of the NBA free agency moratorium period, the Los Angeles Lakers will now shift their attention to securing a meeting with LeBron James. While that meeting is likely to happen eventually, it hasn’t happened yet.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the rumored dinner between James and Lakers team president Magic Johnson Saturday night didn’t actually happen, even though James is in Los Angeles. It’s unclear if the two parties have been in contact since the start of free agency, according to Stein’s report.
The level of contact between LeBron James and the Lakers thus far is not yet clear, but one source close to the process tells @NYTSports that LeBron and Lakers lead recruiter Magic Johnson did NOT have dinner together after free agency began at 9:01 PM Los Angeles time last night— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 1, 2018
To our knowledge, the only teams James and/or his camp have been in contact with since the start of free agency are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Philadelphia 76ers, who have plans to meet with representatives of James on Sunday. The Denver Nuggets are reportedly trying to secure a meeting with James, but given limited cap space and small market, that’s more of a pipe dream for Denver than anything.
The fact that the Lakers haven’t met with James or his camp yet and other teams have is a bit concerning, but it’s important to remember that Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have been in contact with James’ agent, Rich Paul, all season because of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who belongs to Paul’s agency Klutch Sports. Even if they haven’t talked about James yet, there’s an existing rapport there that suggests they at least get in the room.
After all, the Lakers are still considered favorites to land James when everything is all said and done. Some NBA executives even reportedly believe James has already decided on the Lakers and is dragging out his decision for dramatic effect, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
James is expected to make his decision before July 4. Until then, enjoy the rumors linking the Lakers to NBA champion JaVale McGee and Amir Johnson.
To track all of the latest free agency rumors about the Lakers, go to this page.