The Los Angeles Lakers still remain the overwhelming favorites to sign LeBron James, but outside factors could be helping this superteam in the making. According to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul has been working behind the scenes, telling people that James would not want to come to Houston, but wants to be in L.A.
“According to my sources, several things are happening: Chris Paul is telling people that LeBron doesn't want to come to Houston, he wants to be in L.A.,” said Smith in his radio show (h/t Reddit's S_Das for the transcription). “Folks aren't sure that Paul George is coming to LA. From what I'm being told, Sam Presti and OKC are going to offer him the max. Because their going to offer him the max combined with the fact that Russell Westbrook shows him a lot of love, they seem to get along pretty well and they've got a future together.”
This helps Paul in waves, given that he is determined to get the max contract he was promised last season, which would render the Rockets unable to sign James with two players at the max already on the roster.
“Paul George is a sentimental type and as a result, its going to be hard for him to pull away from that and that relationship with Russell Westbrook,” Smith continued. “Here's the problem, the wife would rather be in LA. Paul George's parents, from what I'm told, would rather be in LA. The family pressure is pushing him to L.A. Peer pressure is keeping him in OKC. That, combined with the money, because he stands to make so much more money by staying in OKC rather than going to L.A, it could be problematic for Magic Johnson. If LeBron comes first (to LA) then that's one thing. If he wants to wait, then getting Paul George is more important because that might ultimately influence LeBron, even though that's not what I'm hearing it will take.”
James and George are almost equally depending on the other, as James is waiting for George and vice-versa. Eventually, if either of them chooses L.A., it could trigger the other to come to La La Land, giving the Lakers two max-level free agents, as planned.