Boston Celtics

By Matt Dolloff,

Everyone’s got an opinion on where LeBron James should sign as a free agent, if not flat-out predictions. Current and former NBA players have been among the most prominent voices, and they could point in the direction of where LeBron ends up going.

Among the most striking comments on LeBron’s impending free agency is ex-NBA guard Gary Payton, who laid out a specific reason why he believes LeBron will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. He told Black Sports Online that his son, Bronny, has already enrolled in the Sierra Canyon School in the L.A. area.

However, an official told NBA writer Chris Palmer that’s not true. But Payton added that LeBron’s family will “dictate where he goes” for his remaining years in the league. Maybe his kids haven’t officially enrolled in Los Angeles-area schools yet, but perhaps “The Glove” has some insider info on what LeBron and his family will eventually decide.

Echoing Payton’s sentiments about LeBron’s family is his former Heat and Cavs teammate Dwyane Wade, who believes his free-agent decision will not be made for basketball reasons. It sounds weird, but it’s a salient point: LeBron could sign anywhere and make that team an instant contender, especially when he can attract other good players to join him.

“I think at this point in his life, it’s more so of a lifestyle thing of where my family is going to be the most comfortable and where I’m going to be the happiest,” Wade told Fox Sports Radio (via USA Today).

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) watches the end of the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in game two of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden.

Former player and longtime ESPN analyst Jalen Rose has had a bit more convoluted take on the matter. He believes LeBron would have the best chance to win a championship if he signs with the Warriors (duh) or the Celtics (now you have our attention). But at the same time, he believes LeBron shouldn’t make his decision based on that because it would only limit him to those two teams? Because anywhere else he’s not going to win, so he should choose a team that’s not going to win? Kinda? (Insert “thinking man” emoji, and maybe throw in a monocle man for that take.)

Beyond players, there’s an interesting nugget from Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. She told ESPN Radio that LeBron doesn’t like Houston as a city. So if what Payton and Wade are saying is to be believed, the Rockets aren’t likely to be high on LeBron’s list.

So if it’s truly about family, lifestyle, and other aspects of life outside basketball, then the Lakers should be considered the favorite in the clubhouse for LeBron’s services. It’s pretty much undeniable that he’ll have a chance to win a championship no matter where he signs, so he might as well make the best choice for everything else. L.A. would give him the best shot at becoming an even bigger star internationally and taking his brand even further beyond the basketball court.

Based on what these guys are saying, the signs are mostly pointing toward the Hollywood sign. Maybe a couple spotlights with a helicopter circling overhead. But of course, that won’t be known until LeBron opts out by June 29 and drags this thing out as long as he wants after meeting with seven different teams.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at