Can Laker Fans Embrace the King?
Why Lakers fans need to get ready to embrace the King because the LeBron to the Lakers rumors are about to come true
LeBron James is the best basketball player on the planet and one of the five greatest of all time. He’s won 3 NBA championships, been awarded 4 regular season and 3 NBA Finals MVPs, and made 13 All-Star and 14 All-NBA teams.
Yet, it was not surprising only 42% of the Lakers fans polled last week were in favor of the team pursuing and signing LeBron as a free agent this summer. Whether due to his rivalry with Kobe Bryant, dislike for the drama constantly surrounding him, or concern he might derail the team’s youth movement, Lakers fans have just not embraced the idea of the King in purple and gold. But they need to get ready because recent events favor LeBron to the Lakers.
For that to happen, though, LeBron has to, first, decide to leave the Cavs because he couldn’t win a championship with them and, second, decide to join the Lakers because he thinks he could win a championship with them. Before the trade deadline, the consensus around the league was LeBron’s focus was on winning now and the Lakers, as talented as they are, were still too young and inexperienced at this point to be an attractive destination.
That consensus is changing as the Cavs’ season dims and the Lakers’ young core soars. Suddenly, the Lakers are playing like a top 10 team and forcing their way into the conversation as a possible destination for LeBron James.
After quick wins over the Celtics and Thunder, the Cavs hoped their trade deadline makeover would boost their lagging chances of winning the East and giving LeBron James a chance to play in his 8th straight NBA Finals. But since then, the Cavs have only managed an unimpressive 4–4 record with 3 of the wins vs. tanking teams and all the losses to playoff teams. The Cavs would need a dramatic turnaround in the playoffs to get LeBron back to the Finals.
Meanwhile, the Lakers, with a steadily improving Isaiah Thomas, have been playing at the level of a top ten NBA team, winning 18 of 26 since January 7th and 6of 7since the All-Star Break. Finally healthy, the Lakers have turned their season around the last two months and boast one of the best and deepest young cores in the league, including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, and Thomas Bryant.
While they’re still likely to fall short of making the playoffs, the Lakers have a realistic chance to finish the season over .500, which would be an amazing accomplishment for a team that was 11–27 at one point earlier in the season. The Lakers’ young core are growing and maturing every game and should be an upper tier playoff team next season without any personnel additions. Add LeBron and another superstar and the Lakers are a legitimate contender.
Frankly, what Lakers fan would not be giddy at a starting lineup of Lonzo Ball, Paul George, Brandon Ingram, LeBron James, and Julius Randle. That’s a lineup I think could challenge and dethrone the Golden State Warriors.
Unless the Cavs suddenly surprise everybody and make it back to the NBA Finals, I don’t see any way LeBron remains in Cleveland. It’s no secret he and his family hate Dan Gilbert and suddenly Lonzo and the Lakers have turned themselves into a team on the rise. Now LeBron James can clearly envision a championship team when he thinks about the Lakers with himself and PG. If Magic Johnson can pull this off, every Lakers fan should be in 7th heaven.
As for concerns about LeBron wanting to be the team’s general manager and coach like he appeared to be at times in Cleveland, there is no way Magic Johnson or Luke Walton are going to allow that. If LeBron joins the Lakers, it will be as a superstar player. He’ll be accorded all of the respect he deserves as a superstar but the Lakers aren’t going to sign a bunch of Rich Paul’s clients or trade away exciting young talent to win now just to satisfy LeBron James.
Same with worries that the King’s drama queen personality might disrupt the great team chemistry and culture Luke Walton has created on these Lakers. From Lonzo to Brandon to Julius, I think every player on the Lakers would love the opportunity to have LeBron James as their leader and teammate. LeBron has always been a pass-first model of a team-first player and would absolutely thrive playing with Lonzo Ball in Luke’s pace run-and-gun offense.
Finally, I think LeBron and Lonzo would be outstanding fits playing together. Lonzo has never had a problem giving up the ball and actually plays very well off the ball as does LeBron. Both are pass-first players. They could share the ball playing together but I love the idea of having either Lonzo or LeBron on the floor 48 minutes of the game just like the Rockets do with Harden and Chris Paul, two superstars who play best with the ball in their hands.
The Lakers enjoy a huge advantage over the other NBA teams pursuing LeBron James and Paul George this summer as they’re the only team with sufficient cap space to sign two max-contract free agents this summer. There’ll be competition from Cleveland, Houston, Philadelphia, and who knows where else but the Lakers will be in the driver’s seat as the favorite. They have great supporting talent and cap space for two superstars.
So it’s time for the LeBron naysayers to get ready to embrace the King and stop worrying he’ll turn into Luol Deng, make Pelinka trade Brandon Ingram, send Lonzo Ball to the bench, or start WW3 with LaVar Ball and BBB.
Get ready to embrace the King because LeBron to the Lakers is on its way.