- The NBA offseason hasn’t even begun, but LeBron James is already reportedly beginning his recruitment effort to bring other superstars to the Los Angeles Lakers.
- According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, James has already spoken with Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard about the possibility of joining the Lakers in free agency.
- James has also been seen around the city with other league superstars, including Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and former teammate Kyrie Irving.
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The NBA offseason hasn’t officially begun, but that apparently hasn’t stopped Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James from getting started on recruiting some new teammates for the 2019-20 season.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, James is already busy working to convince other talented players in the league to join him in Los Angeles to chase a title for the purple and gold.
“From what I understand, he has already begun the recruiting process,” Windhorst said. “I’ve heard he has had contact with Kawhi Leonard. I’ve heard he has had contact with Jimmy Butler. There is no tampering enforcement by players. … The thing about it is, I don’t know if texts and calls and maybe a dinner with LeBron is enough for the Lakers to overcome the hurdles that they’re going to have.”
Windhorst also brought up possible trade targets for the Lakers, including Bradley Beal and DeMar DeRozan.
You can watch his entire “Pardon the Interruption” appearance below.
Windhorst isn’t the only NBA insider to report on James’ recruiting efforts.
ESPN’s Jordan Schultz said in a tweet that James had been seen with former teammate Kyrie Irving in Los Angeles on Saturday, adding that James was also seen dining with Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis earlier in the week.
One more notable trio: LeBron dined with Russell Westbrook — and Anthony Davis — at Nobu Malibu on Wednesday.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) May 24, 2019
It’s easy to understand why James would be eager to bring another star player to Los Angeles.
While James impressed through the opening stretch of the season, an injury left the LeBron-less Lakers to flounder through a treacherous Western Conference, and Los Angeles wound up missing the playoffs for the sixth straight year. The team made a big swing at the trade deadline, attempting to bring in Anthony Davis from the Pelicans, but New Orleans turned down the Lakers’ best offer in favour of seeing what the market would look like this summer.
The result was a disappointing season that seemed to indicate that the Lakers were a bit further from title contention than the team anticipated. That said, with the addition of just one more star player, it’s possible that Los Angeles can make a run in a Western conference that could look extremely different after what is looking like a potentially wild offseason.
If James’ wine-and-dine strategy to convince another player to join him fall flat, the Lakers might have to resort to another rebuilding plan – one that could possibly involve trading James away to another team closer to winning now.
We won’t know how successful James’ recruitment efforts were until free agency begins in earnest, but for now, it looks like James is already working hard to ensure that he’s still playing in the postseason come this time next year.
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