LeBron James teased a change to his jersey number on Twitter, and some fans think it’s a hint that the Lakers will sign Kawhi Leonard

LeBron James hinted at changing back to No. 6, and some conspiracy-minded fans believe there’s a message hidden in the move. John McCoy/Getty Images
  • NBA fans think a cryptic tweet from LeBron James on Friday was meant to tease the arrival of Kawhi Leonard, who the Los Angeles Lakers hope to sign in free agency.
  • James tweeted a six and the prayer-hands emoji – imagery that Drake has regularly used throughout his career.
  • Others think James’ tweet simply meant he would be donning the No. 6 jersey this season.
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The Los Angeles Lakers were the first team to make a splash in the NBA offseason, trading away young players and picks to bring Anthony Davis to the purple and gold.

Since then, the Lakers have stayed busy, pulling off several moves in just a few hours on Thursday that put the team in a position to sign another superstar and form a new “Big Three” alongside Davis and LeBron James.

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One critical part of the Lakers’ having enough space to bring in another player was Davis’ decision to waive a $US4 million trade kicker he was entitled to, giving Los Angeles the $US32 million necessary to offer a max deal to an incoming free agent.

When news broke that James had opted to give Davis No. 23, just hours after Davis gave up his $US4 million bonus, fans on Twitter were quick to get conspiratorial, suggesting the two decisions were related.

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Anthony Davis gave up a $US4 million bonus to help the Lakers, and fans on Twitter believe it’s part of a grand conspiracy

A cryptic tweet from LeBron kicked speculation into high gear

NBA fans might have left things there, but a cryptic tweet from James late Thursday kicked those conspiracy theories up another level.

The six. The prayer-hands emoji.

To some casual observers, the message was teasing James’ new number: Since he was giving No. 23 to Davis, James would be returning to his days of wearing No. 6, this time for the Lakers.

But others thought the tweet went beyond that, serving as a signal that Kawhi Leonard would be joining James and Davis in Los Angeles.

Leonard just won the NBA championship with the Raptors, from Toronto, a city known as “The Six,” a nickname popularised by Drake, a Raptors superfan.

James’ tweet used the prayer-hands emoji, evoking an image Drake has used throughout his career – on record covers and even a tattoo on his forearm.

Conspiracy-minded fans think Kawhi Leonard is coming to the Lakers

Aspiring internet sleuths put these facts together and came to the conclusion that James was teasing not just his new jersey number but Leonard’s arrival in Los Angeles.






LeBron could have just been making a winking joke

The Lakers will certainly do all they can to bring Leonard to Los Angeles, as his presence on the roster would immediately make them favourites to win the title in 2020.

That said, there are plenty of reasons to believe that Leonard joining a Lakers superteam is still far from becoming a reality.Some think the Raptors, after their title run, are the favourites to keep Leonard on his next contract, given the massive deal he could sign next summer should he return to Toronto for just one more season.

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Kawhi Leonard could sign one of the biggest contracts in NBA history if he takes a bold gamble to stay with the Toronto Raptors short term

Chances are, James was simply making a winking joke with his tweet, while hoping he can persuade Leonard to join the team when they meet in the offseason.

We won’t know anything for certain until free agency begins in full on Sunday – but until then, there’s sure to be more clues on Twitter to tide fans over.