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This summer was already going to be interesting in regards to NBA free agency, but now it’s going to be bananas. And all over someone who isn’t in even in the league yet.

According to an earlier report from NBC Bay Area, retired NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton announced that LeBron James’ son, LeBron Jr., is taking his basketball talents to Southern California.

“His son just committed to Sierra Canyon — that’s where his son is gonna go to school with Scottie Pippen’s son and Kenyon Martin’s son,” Payton told Sheena Quick. “If everybody looks at it — a son at that age, you don’t want to be away from him for that period of time.

“He needs a father during that time … I think he wants to be around his son a lot, see his son play.”

Ironically, Sierra Canyon High School is in Chatsworth, which happens to be 30 minutes away from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. And James Jr., 13, is already a rising star on the AAU circuit, so that he is choosing to play in a major media market is something worth noting.

Why is this a major deal? This news comes in the same summer that LeBron Sr. is able to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. So this happens to be quite the bombshell, considering that the Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the teams that have long been linked to James. Keep in mind, James already has ties in Southern California: his production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is located in Los Angeles. He also has a home in Brentwood, and he and his wife, Savannah, tied the knot in San Diego in 2013.

With James slowly reaching the twilight of his career and his sons reaching a crucial age of needing stability, I think that the idea of staying close to his children and wife are going to play a big role in where James decides to land. Also, the Lakers happen to be the only team that can offer James a max contract AND still have room to bring in one more star-caliber player…something is important to James in his quest to topple the current dynasty that is the Golden State Warriors.

Where there’s smoke, there is usually fire, and James’ camp is most likely going to be sending plenty of smoke signals this summer throughout the NBA.

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