Los Angeles Lakers: Could the Lakers Sign LeBron James in 2014?

If Dwight Howard bolts for the greener pastures of the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks or Dallas Mavericks as a free agent this summer, the Los Angeles Lakers could be awful next season.

Kobe Bryant is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair his torn Achilles, and although he says he’ll be ready for the start of the season, LA can’t count on that. The Lakers could lose their two best players after a monumentally disappointing 2013 season.

However, there is still hope. Next season may be a wash, but in 2014 the Lakers may return to their perennial greatness. Why?

LeBron James.

Eric Pincus of the LA Times illustrated the fact that if he opts out the final two years of his deal with the Miami Heat, James can become a free agent in 2014 and sign with the Lakers:

The NBA recently gave teams a projection of $58.5 million for next season's salary cap and $62.1 million for the summer of 2014.

The Lakers are waiting for the decision of center Dwight Howard, who will hit free agency in July.  If he re-signs, he could make up to $22.05 million for the 2014-15 season.

If the Lakers kept Howard but shed every free agent, including Bryant, Nash and even their 2014 first-round draft selection, they'd have approximately $31.2 million in cap space. (Note that the league includes an empty roster charge on a team's cap for open spots up to 12 players, $507,336 each in 2014.)

James would be eligible for a deal starting at $20 million, leaving the team with about $11.7 million in space to keep shopping. With that, the Lakers would still have the ability to sign a high-level free agent to join Howard and James.

Imagine James and Howard both in purple and gold. Now that would be a super team—the best player in the world and the best center in the NBA, both in their respective primes, playing on the same team. James would make Howard signifi...

About the Author