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LeBron James Free Agency Rumors: LA Lakers Don't Believe They'll Land 'King James' [VIDEO]

Mike Smollins
By Mike Smollins @MikeSmollins
on Sep 13, 2013 12:34 PM EDT
LeBron James
Miami Heat F and NBA Finals MVP LeBron James. (Photo : Reuters)

Rumors are circulating that LeBron James may opt for free agency in the summer of 2014, which likely has many teams hoping they can land the Miami Heat star. The storied Los Angeles Lakers reportedly believe their chances at striking a deal with 'King James' are slim, though.

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ESPN.com reported that an unnamed source within the Lakers organization said that, "there isn't a single person in the organization," who believes that they'll land James, who would be the biggest fish in the free agency pond if he decides to opt for it.

Following the departure of Dwight Howard, the Lakers have seemingly filled their roster with players who may not be there next season, reportedly in preparations for a move to try to court James, but insiders in the Lakers organization don't seem to believe he'd be headed out that far west if he decides to leave South Beach.

According to Bleacher Report, the Lakers will only have about $10.6 million of guaranteed money on their books heading into the summer of 2014, but will still have to attempt to re-sign mainstay Kobe Bryant as well as center Pau Gasol, if the team chooses to stick with them. Bryant could also opt to go elsewhere, and if James is in the mix the two of them will headline a free agent pool that might also consist of New York Knicks' star Carmelo Anthony and James' teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Gasol, 34, may not be a top priority to the Lakers, but if they re-sign Bryant he's already stated to ESPN that he's not willing to take a pay cut to help the team sign more stars, which James, Bosh and Wade all did in order for Miami to be able to keep them and still afford to bring in other talents. The pay cuts have paid off in back-to-back NBA championships for the Heat the last two years.

James made headlines on Tuesday when he was asked about his future and said he'd love to stay in Miami but there are no guarantees.

"I would love to spend the rest of my career in Miami with this great team and great organization as we continue to compete for championships," James told ESPN. "That's ideal. But we don't know what may happen from now to the end of the season. That's the nature of the business. It's the nature of not knowing what tomorrow brings."

It was then reported by ESPN that James' former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, could be the landing spot for the Akron, Ohio native and that the Lakers were a long-shot. It would appear as though Lakers insiders agree with that assessment based on ESPN's report.

Heat President Pat Riley, whose pitch landed James with Miami in the first place, discussed the possibility of losing LeBron with ESPN Wednesday.

"Our stance is the same we had with [Dwyane] Wade in 2010, that we're just going to play the season and not let that hang over our heads and become a distraction just because the media wants to get an answer on it every day," Riley said per ESPN "I don't know LeBron's stance"

James has won the NBA's Most Valuable Player award four out of the last five seasons and last year with the Heat he averaged 26.8 points per game, 7.3 assists per game and eight total rebounds per game and would likely have many suitors if he hits the market.

James is a two-time NBA finals MVP and a nine-time All-Star, and he helped lead the Heat to a 66-16 record last season and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference on its way to Miami's third title since 2006. He has averaged 27.6 points per game for his career.

Whether James decides to leave South Beach in 2014 will be a major storyline throughout the 2013-14 season, but the Lakers don't seem confident in landing what would be the most coveted player on the market.

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