LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers
After losing the first three games of the 2017 NBA Finals, the rumors have begun that LeBron James, pictured at Quicken Loans Arena on June 7, 2017 in Cleveland, could sign with the Lakers or Clippers in 2018. Getty Images

LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s the rumor that basketball fans can expect to hear between the conclusion of the 2017 NBA Finals and the start of 2018 free agency.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers being dominated by the Golden State Warriors in the rubber match, there has been plenty of speculation regarding what the Cavs can do to win a title in 2018. The team can try to trade Kevin Love, but a healthy Warriors team with Kevin Durant might be too good for anyone to beat. James’ best chance to win a fourth ring might have to come with another team, namely one in L.A.

READ: Could The Cavs Trade Kevin Love In The 2017 Offseason?

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor spoke with multiple sources this week that believe the Lakers, or even the Clippers, could be James’ destination when his contract with Cleveland comes to an end next season. Jalen Rose said on ESPN’s “First Take” that he expects James to head out West, and ESPN’s Rachel Nichols said on “Pardon My Take” that she wouldn’t be surprised if James eventually went to one of the L.A. teams.

James already has a home in Los Angeles, and he spends much of his time in the city. Sparking even more speculation about James’ future is that his business owner, Maverick Carter, has reportedly met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss several times over the past few months.

What are the chances that James could actually leave Cleveland again and go to Los Angeles?

To start, James is definitely going to remain with the Cavs through the 2017-2018 season. He’s got one more year on his contract, and no matter how badly Cleveland gets beat in the finals, they will still be the overwhelming favorites in the Eastern Conference.

Anything is certainly possible when James hits free agency. Few could have imagined that the league’s best player would leave his hometown team and join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, and the chances of him returning to Cleveland seemed like a near impossibility.

James has already fulfilled his promise of finally bringing a championship to Cleveland. If he was to leave, playing in L.A. would make sense for a few reasons.

The Lakers are not a very attractive option in 2017 after four straight seasons of missing the playoffs, but that could quickly change. Indiana’s Paul George is reportedly eying the Lakers in free agency next year, and L.A. could find themselves with a young star on their hands, having the No.2 overall draft pick in three straight seasons.

Signing with the Clippers, however, could allow him to play with his superstar friends. It’s well known how close James is with Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. He’s already gotten the chance to play with Wade, and his opportunity to team up with the latter two could come with L.A.’s second team.

Paul is a free agent this summer, and despite rumors that there’s mutual interest between himself and the San Antonio Spurs, he’s expected to re-sign with the Clippers. The New York Knicks have not been shy about their attempts to trade Anthony, and the Clippers might be his most likely destination, according to reports.

James has expressed an interest in playing with his buddies before his career is over, but his priority in 2018 will be winning championships. Just about any team with James is a title contender, but a lot has to happen before the Lakers or Clippers would be considered good enough to challenge the Warriors.

READ: Ranking The 10 Best Players In The 2017 NBA Finals

In some respects, leaving the Cavs to head out West could severely hurt James’ chances to win more rings. He’s dominated the East since 2011 with seven straight trips to the NBA Finals, and winning the first three rounds of the playoffs would probably be harder in the more difficult Western Conference.

Even though the Cavs have been dominated in this year's finals, they’ve proven that they can win a title with James at the helm. James often indicates that he believes Kyrie Irving can be among the league’s elite players, and there might be no reason for the three-time MVP to leave if that becomes a reality.

The idea that James will soon leave Cleveland is premature, but there is plenty to discuss when looking at his future in the NBA.