Lakers Favor Drafting Lonzo Ball, With an Eye on Paul George, LeBron James

FILE - In this June 7, 2017, file photo, University of California Los Angeles guard Lonzo Ball takes questions from the media after a closed Los Angeles Lakes pre-draft workout in El Segundo, Calif. Ball's mental steadiness is one big reason he's almost certain to be a top-three pick at the NBA Draft on Thursday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — For a Los Angeles Lakers franchise that has lost Kobe Bryant and a historic number of games over the past four seasons, the increasing likelihood that Paul George soon arrives and the possibility that LeBron James eventually joins him is a testament to how the power of the brand holds strong.

The George scenario has been omnipresent for some time, and Cleveland‘s loss in the 2017 NBA Finals has led Lakers officials to hear more whispers about James’ interest in a final chapter in Los Angeles, where his wife would like to live full time, per sources. The Lakers have long known the appreciation James, who grew up a fan of the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, holds for their iconic brand.

The first order of business comes Thursday night, though. That’s part of the momentum

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