Way too early to say
LeBron James will play where he feels most comfortable, and where he sees himself having the best chance to win. And if anyone has any idea about that in October 2012, they should scout out a sports book that offers futures lines for two seasons down the road.
With the looming luxury tax and Dwyane Wade's lagging legs, even the Heat don't know where they'll stand in July 2014. And with legitimate uncertainty about whether Kobe Bryant truly will step away after 2013-14, the Lakers' future payroll remains in flux.
And that's not even addressing the issue of whether Dwight Howard will be a Laker nine months from now, let alone 21 months down the road. So it's way too early to speculate where James will land.
Happy in South Beach
LeBron James will re-sign with the Heat whether he opts out of his contract early or not. James' image has been rehabilitated since his disastrous decision to air "The Decision."
While public perception doesn't drive all of James' decisions, he's smart enough to know being viewed as a traitor once in a career is plenty. He seems happy in Miami, which is run by someone as competitive as him in Pat Riley. Don't underestimate Riley's ability to reload, which is the basis for the James-to-the-Lakers rumor. Riley will make sure James stays happy because James is a once-in-a-lifetime talent.
From afar, James appears happy having taken his talents to South Beach. There's no strong basis for him to leave.
He can save Orlando
LeBron to the Lakers? Puh-leeeze!
That's low-hanging fruit, LBJ. You leave the Heat for L.A. as a free agent in 2014 and you aren't a superstar. You're tagging along. You're a professional coattail rider.
You want a real challenge? Head on up the interstate and save Orlando.