Report: LeBron James plans to stay in Cleveland, Los Angeles talk ‘premature’

By Jesse Reed
Mar 25, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of smoke from the NBA rumor mill about LeBron James potentially moving to Los Angeles following the 2017-18 NBA season. His wife reportedly wants to live in LA full time, and multiple NBA insiders have heard James could consider the Lakers and Clippers after next season.

But does all that smoke indicate a real fire?

According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, not really.

Of course, the words “right now” and “premature” are all that really matter here.

Right now, James still has a year left before he can opt out of his current deal — a three-year deal he signed before the 2016-17 season.

So, even if he did have thoughts about leaving Cleveland after the next season, there are a lot of things that need to likely fall into place — both in Los Angeles and in Cleveland — before James would consider abandoning his current team.

That said, given what has happened recently it wouldn’t be all that shocking if that’s exactly what goes down. James was a big fan of David Griffin, who was unconscionably let go last week because he and owner Dan Gilbert couldn’t agree on the direction of the franchise. This is the same general manager that helped the city of Cleveland land its first NBA title…ever. And Gilbert didn’t bother asking James what he thought about the move before it was made.

Nobody really knows what will happen next. Chauncey Billups has been mentioned as a potential replacement, and Ice Cube recently said Billups was leaving the BIG3 to take the job in Cleveland. Even if he does come on board, the Cavaliers’ future is murky.

The same goes for what’s happening out west for both Los Angeles-based teams that are reportedly on James’ radar. The Clippers are likely about to completely reload after both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have opted out of their deals. The Lakers are about to enter the Lonzo Ball era.

So, while James might be interested in stay in Cleveland “right now,” who knows what the future will bring?