The Los Angeles Lakers have made it clear that their plan is to sign at least two superstars in free agency in 2018, but while the team has been fined for tampering in the case of their interest in Paul George, they (smartly) have yet to directly confirm their interest in LeBron James.
Still, the writing is on the wall, with anonymous report after anonymous report linking the two parties since last season.
Because of that, every move James or the Lakers make over the next few months is going to be overanalyzed by everyone with even a passing interest in the NBA.
It’s why when James wished Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson a happy birthday on Twitter the whole internet basically exploded, and why it pretty much did the same when the Cleveland Cavaliers forward and soon-to-be free agent offered some birthday wishes to Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 27, 2017
Does this mean James is for sure going to sign with the Lakers? No, of course not, but there have been very few athletes as aware of their brand and perception as he is. James had to know what the reaction on the internet would be to him sending this tweet, especially when he’s done this before joining a team in free agency before.
Him sending his birthday wishes on Twitter anyway isn’t necessarily an indicator of any high level of interest he has in joining the Lakers, but he also could have sent Ball a text. Firing off the tweet at the very least means he doesn’t really care about people overreacting to the perception that this tweet indicates his interest in heading to L.A.
James has never been shy about flexing his muscles through the traditional press or social media in order to put pressure on the Cavs to put as good of a team around him as possible, and this could just be the latest example. Or it could just be him sending a tweet. One of the two.