The new-look Cavaliers started off with a bang against their biggest Eastern Conference Rivals in Boston, and while the players, Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman were all smiles, LeBron James is the only one who should really be smiling.
Sure, the Cavs might be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference again, but there’s still, no chance, no chance in hell that they’ll beat the Golden State Warriors in the finals, bring home another Championship OR bring back LeBron James.
Yes, you read that right. LeBron James is leaving Cleveland. 100%.
While it’s not set in stone where LeBron is going this summer, the evidence is starting to pile up in favor of the Los Angeles Lakers and ironically, it’s partly because of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
— The Ringer (@ringer) February 10, 2018
By trading away two expiring contracts (Sorry Isaiah) and a 1st Round pick, the Cavs got better in the short-term and look more likely to get to LeBron’s 8th straight NBA Finals appearance. However, by taking on Jordan Clarkson’s contract, it also gives the Los Angeles Lakers enough room for two MAX contract players on top of all the assets they already have. This will give the Lakers even more leverage when they meet with LeBron James in one of his $20+ million Los Angeles mansions this summer. No wonder LeBron is smiling!
But sure, there are plenty of reasons for LeBron not to end up with the Lakers. They are sucking for the 5th straight year, they haven’t been a free agent destination lately, they won’t be able to beat the Warriors even if they get Paul George to join him and LeBron is too scared to play in the West. Let’s go through all those reasons and see if they hold up?
– “The Lakers Suck”
the Knicks rule, the Lakers suck. They have sucked so bad that we forgot how obnoxious Lakers fans are. We are in for a rude awakening… Do you know who else sucked though? The 06/07 Boston Celtics (15th in the East), to a lesser extent the 09/10 Miami Heat (Lost 4-1 in the First Round) and obviously the 13/14 Cavaliers (10th in the East).
Not only did those Celtics go on to win the NBA Championship the year after, but out of those 3 teams, 2 of them turned it around; because LeBron joined them! This has been LeBron James’ MO ever since he joined the league. He turns chicken shit into chicken salad. It will be a big part of his legacy. He has made bad teams into championship contenders. Take note Kevin Durant.
– “Lakers Are Not a Free Agent Destination”
Do you know who is a Free Agent destination? LeBron James! He got Chris Bosh to join forces with him in Miami and he gave Kevin Love a reason to guarantee a contract extension in Cleveland, Ohio. In the modern global NBA, the focus has shifted from destination teams to destination players and LeBron James is the biggest destination player of them all.
Notice how Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins ended up on LeBron’s hand-picked All-Star team? I sure did. They are both free agents this summer and the Lakers have an opportunity now to sign either one of them along with LeBron this summer.
Paul George is Plan A, I’m sure, but his current team and today’s Cavs opponent – OKC – have a decent chance of making noise in the playoffs and enticing PG13 to stay. Still, there’s no secret that George has dreamt of playing for the Lakers before and OKC most likely still have to go through either the Spurs or Timberwolves in the first round to give themselves a chance to keep him.
DeMarcus Cousins is a solid Plan B. The now injured star has never made the playoffs and his team might fall short yet again with the Utah Jazz on a 10 game winning streak and the Clippers still hanging in the playoff picture. Like Kevin Love in Minnesota before him, Cousins is tired of losing and would probably jump on the opportunity to play alongside LeBron.
Lost in the Cavs/Lakers trade, is the 1st Round pick Cleveland had to send the Lakers’ way. It gives them yet another asset on top of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and all of their own future firsts. There are a couple of interesting stars who are possibly available.
Heck, what about Kawhi Leonard? The Lakers might not have enough for that. How about CJ McCollum? John Wall or Bradley Beal? What about Team LeBron All-Star Kemba Walker?
Do you know who else is on LeBron’s All-Star team? Anthony Davis. Yeah, I said it. Ingram, Ball, Kuzma, Cavaliers 2018 1st and Lakers 2020 1st for Anthony Davis, who says no? Probably the Pelicans, but I’m sure the Lakers will try. Maybe they need a truly BIG 3 to beat the Warriors. While we’re on the subject..
– “They Won’t Beat The Warriors Anyway”
But then again, who will? Maybe the Spurs if they could get LeBron for themselves? I don’t even think that would be enough. The Warriors are just that much more talented than everyone else. But if you won’t be able to beat them anyway, why not do that in the comfort of your own mansions in LA? If you’re LeBron James, why not create another superteam with the Lakers and be a championship contender for the rest of your career? Only yet another lucky lottery draw for the Cavs would make them better than this season.
Besides, the Warriors won’t last forever. Klay Thompson is a free agent in 2019 and he is good enough to be a 1A or 1B option like he was in Golden State before Durant showed up. Draymond Green is a free agent the year after that. Anything can happen, Curry and Durant have been injured before. At least LeBron would be closer if he headed West and formed a new superteam with the Lakers.
– “LeBron is too scared to play in the West”
What does he have to lose and what does he have to gain? Sure, it might stop his consecutive finals appearances at 8, but that streak might already be gone in the summer should the Cavs get knocked out by the Celtics, Raptors or even the Wizards. It will be an even tougher task next season when the Celtics get Gordon Hayward back, develops their young roster even more or possibly make a big time trade. The odds are against LeBron snatching the consecutive finals record from Bill Russell, but admittedly, he has a better chance of doing it coming out of the East.
However, reaching the finals is becoming a curse as much as it is a blessing. Russell won 11 out of 12 NBA finals, Michael Jordan famously won all 6 of his NBA Finals appearances and LeBron would end up with… 3 wins out of 11? I think it’s a stupid thing to punish LeBron for, he has been and would be an underdog in most of those finals.
Do you know what else is stupid? Claiming that Kobe Bryant was better than LeBron James. But who are the only ones left who believe that? Lakers fans! How do you change that? By joining the Lakers and making them a contender once again. Just like Donovan Mitchell for ROTY, my money is on LeBron James joining the Lakers this summer. Enjoy it while it lasts Cleveland.