That's surely what the organization had to be thinking just hours earlier when it managed to secure the lone publicized free-agent meeting with James' camp, as a contingent went to L.A.to talk to his agent Rich Paul.
But the Lakers will instantly rise with James, a three-time champion who after being swept by the Warriors in this year's NBA Finals said he is still driven and very much in "championship mode".
James' discussion with the Cavaliers was first reported by ESPN.
Back in 2016 it was announced that director Justin Lin was teaming up with James to put together a sequel to Space Jam, a film that starred National Basketball Association legend Michael Jordan. Whether they land Leonard or not, having James in a market like LA is the ultimate recruiting tool to bring other star players aboard. As SB Nation noted, there is not believed to be a lot of interest in Randle outside of Los Angeles (not at the price he would hope to fetch, at least), so he could end up back with the Lakers by default. The Lakers would still have a bit of maneuvering to do to sign two max players. The fourth season on the contract reportedly includes a player option. The preference of Kawhi Leonard is to play with the Lakers, but James signing a four-year deal won't put any pressure on Johnson and Pelinka to give up the farm to get the San Antonio Spurs star now.
The Lakers were a 35-win team last season, finishing 12 games out of the playoffs.
The Cavs played 81 postseason games - one contest shy of an entire regular season - the last four years, winning 55 of them. One of general manager Koby Altman's most critical tasks will be deciding whether to retain or trade Kevin Love, who will make nearly $50 million the next two seasons.
Now that some of the early dust has settled, the battle for him appears to be down to two teams: Cleveland vs. Los Angeles. If that figure holds this time around, the Wine and Gold's worth could shrink by more than $300 million.
Lakers great Kobe Bryant showed support for James' decision in a tweet, saying "Welcome to the family".