How could LeBron resist these Lakers?
Why LeBron James may have a hard time resisting the lure of the L.A. Lakers as their exciting young talent starts to break out
While 76er fans buy billboards in Cleveland begging LeBron to come to Philly and Cavalier hopes LeBron will stay ride on Koby Altman’s roster makeover, there’s a vibe building LeBron may not be able to resist the lure of the Lakers.
While we could talk forever about the multitude of reasons why LeBron to L.A. makes sense, the reality is he is not going to sign with a team unless he believes the team with him can seriously compete for an NBA championship. The Lakers have always understood this. That’s why their grand plan from the start was to create cap space to sign two max-contract elite free agents. They knew they needed to get free agent superstars to think superteams.
Everybody thought the Lakers’ trade of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. to the Cavaliers could easily backfire by improving the Cavs enough so that LeBron would decide to remain in Cleveland. But after a couple of early wins, the reality is the Cavs after the trade are still not a championship contender, which raises serious doubts LeBron will decide to remain in Cleveland. It’s hard to imagine him staying unless the Cavs at least make it to the Finals.
Meanwhile, everything is L.A. was coming up purple and gold. The Lakers were not only able to clear cap space to sign LeBron James and Paul George this summer through the Clarkson/Nance, Jr. trade but they also suddenly caught fire and started playing like a playoff team, winning more than lost in January and February, highlighted by break-out play from what is quickly looking like one of the most talented and exciting young cores in the league.
The Lakers 16–7 record since January 7th was the 3rd best in the league with the 8th ranked offense and the 10th ranked defense in the league. Since the All-Star break, the Lakers are 4–0 with a 2nd ranked offense rating of 118.5 and 7th ranked defensive rating of 103.5, and 2nd ranked net rating of 15.4. During these 4 wins, the Lakers offense was sizzling, shooting a league best 51.8% from the field and league best 45.9% from behind the 3-point line.
What has to have grabbed LeBron’s attention was just how good and how much fun these young Lakers are having as they learn how to win in a man’s league. Whether it’s Lonzo Ball dominating a game with his defense and playmaking without scoring double digits or Julius Randle bully balling bigs at the rim or Brandon Ingram looking like the next Kevin Durant, the Lakers’ young core has suddenly coalesced and is playing playoff level basketball.
Imagine a Lakers’ superteam with a starting lineup for next season of Lonzo Ball, Paul George, Brandon Ingram, LeBron James, and Julius Randle with a bench of Isaiah Thomas, Josh Hart, Cav’s First Round Pick, Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac. This team would be one of the best superteams ever assembled, an unstoppable offensive juggernaut and shutdown defensive nightmare for opponents and a serious threat to challenge and dethrone the Warriors.
Frankly, that’s all that LeBron James needs to convince him to join the Lakers. L.A.’s where he, his family, and his businesses and ambitions want him to be. It’s also exactly where LeBron needs to be to complete his legacy as greatest ever. No NBA superstar has won championships with three different NBA teams. Not even Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. Winning championships as a Laker would be the perfect way for LeBron to cap off his great career.
The lure of the Lakers and bright lights of LA are beckoning and every game that these exciting young Lakers win brings LeBron a little closer to making a decision to take his talents to Hollywood. By July, L.A. will be irresistible.