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Gary Payton: LeBron James Jr. committed to Los Angeles-area school

Gary Payton, John Stockton

Inductee Gary Payton, left, speaks during the enshrinement ceremony for the 2013 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as Hall-of-Famer John Stockton, right, looks on at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)


Remember when LeBron James and his wife, Savannah James, were spotted visiting a Los Angeles-area school last September? Though LeBron denied intent wider than just using the facility to work out, that was seen as a sign they were scouting schools for their children in case LeBron signed with the Lakers or Clippers.

With LeBron officially in the offseason, rumors about LeBron James Jr. are only intensifying.

And they’re being spread by… Gary Payton:

Payton, via BSO:

His son just committed to Sierra Canyon, which is in the valley of L.A. That’s where his son is gonna go to school with Scottie Pippen’s son and Kenyon Martin’s son. So, that’s a move that they’re going to make. If everybody looks at it, a son at that age, you don’t want to be away from him for that period of time. During the time that we’re having basketball is school time. I think he needs a father during that time. That said, I don’t think LeBron is that type of parent. I think he wants to be his son around a lot, see his son a lot play.

This sounds as if Payton got the rumor backward. LeBron Jr. would probably attend school in the Los Angeles area only if LeBron played for the Lakers or Clippers. I’d be shocked if LeBron Jr. attends high school in Los Angeles while his dad plays elsewhere.

It also sounds as if Payton is accepting LeBron Jr.'s commitment to Sierra Canyon as fact when it really isn’t.

Chris Palmer of Spectrum SportsNet:

Maybe the school was just protecting the James family’s privacy. But Payton’s statement sounded unfounded even before the denial.

Rumors of a free agent picking houses or schools in a given city have been spread for decades. Not usually by Hall of Famers who declare it with such conviction, though. So, this one has a different type of juice – but probably no more credibility than most similar rumors.