The Los Angeles Lakers have remained relatively quiet this offseason. After losing Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets, L.A. has only made minor moves, hoping to have cap space for the summer of 2014.
Next year, some of the best players in the NBA are expected to become free agents. LeBron James leads the potential All-Stars who will be looking to sign new contracts at the end of this upcoming season. There have been rumors that the Lakers will make the MVP their top target in hopes to pair him with Kobe Bryant.
Several times since he joined the Miami Heat, James has answered questions about an eventual return to Cleveland. With less than 12 months until he has to decide whether or not he wants to become a free agent, the two-time champion is still undecided.
"I have absolutely no idea," James told ESPN.com. "I would love to spend the rest of my career in Miami with this great team and great organization as we continue to compete for championships. That's ideal. But we don't know what may happen from now to the end of the season. That's the nature of the business. It's the nature of not knowing what tomorrow brings.”
In 2010, James signed a six-year deal, with the ability to opt-out after four. He almost certainly will do so, even if he decides to stay in Miami, in order to get another lengthy contract.
James was unable to win a ring in his seven years with the Cavaliers. In three seasons with the Heat, he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are on the verge of forming a dynasty. The Big 3 reached the NBA Finals in year No.1 and have won the last two titles. Despite, their success, though, James may decide to look for another challenge in the offseason.
"I mean, as a kid, I never thought the Bulls would break up,” James continued. “Never. If you'd of told me as a kid that [Michael] Jordan and [Scottie] Pippen wouldn't play together for the rest of their lives, I'd have looked at you crazy. And Phil Jackson wouldn't be the coach? I'd have looked at you crazy. But sometimes the nature of the business doesn't allow things to happen like you would want them to. But we'll see."
With L.A., James might be able form a better team than what he currently has with Miami. If the Lakers miss the playoffs, they’ll enter the lottery and have a chance to get a high pick in one of the best drafts of several years. Adding a top tier prospect to a roster of James, Bryant and Steve Nash would make the Lakers automatic favorites to win the title.
The team with the best chance to land James as a free agent might be the Cavaliers. They have a promising core of young players with Kryie Irving, Dion Waiters and No.1 pick Anthony Bennett. By next year, it would be regarded as better than any supporting cast James ever had during his time in Cleveland.
For now, the reigning MVP will concern himself with defending the title for a second straight year. The Heat are the overwhelming favorite to win the 2014 NBA championship.
"I owe it to myself, I owe it my teammates and I owe it to the Miami Heat to stay focused," he said. "As a leader, I'm not even going to let that side of the business get me unfocused on what I'm trying to do and that's trying to win another championship.
Carmelo Anthony will also be highly considered by the Lakers in the summer of 2014. Bryant is set to become a free agent, but he’s expected to remain in Los Angeles.