ESPN is reporting that Lebron James has signed a 4 year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The undisputed king of basketball will take his talents to tinsel town, and attempt to put the finishing touches on a legacy that seems to be expanding by the second.
In joining the Lakers, Lebron is again agreeing to facilitate the development of a championship contender, and prove once again that is the most valuable athlete in team sports history.
"It is not an opt out, it is LeBron James committing to the full 4 years in Los Angeles like he committed to the full 4 years in Miami."
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 2, 2018
The question now is why?
Why would he do this?
The Lakers are in the basement of a western conference that is as deep, and as loaded as it ever has been, and Lebron ain’t getting any younger.
This can’t be about winning championships, this is about branding, the commercial fringe benefits of living in Los Angeles, Lebron James is not winning a title in this era with this team.
The Lakers lack the shooting, the role players, and the experience to compete with Houston, Golden State, or any of the elite teams in the west.
The cupboard is bare, it would take years to build a championship team, and it takes more than free agent pickups to cultivate a competitive rotation.
They are not as good as the Portland Trailblazers, the Utah Jazz, the New Orleans Pelicans, the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers will be picked to finish behind all of these teams, and more.
Lebron only has 4 to 5 years left, 1 to 2 prime level years, it boggles the mind that he would commit the remaining viability he has as the game’s greatest player to a team that will struggle to win 40 games.
Does Lebron James value championships? This move will instigate the debate, for him to join a team this futile with no guarantee of any superstars joining him is an extremely reckless decision.
Kwai Leonard is not the type of difference maker Lebron needs to get to the next level, it would take Anthony Davis, and a Paul George along with Leonard and Lebron to compete.
The Lakers will sell tickets, they will be given a ridiculous amount of dates on national networks, LA will once again be a hub of basketball.
But what’s where it stops, joining the Los Angeles Lakers will end up damaging Lebron’s legacy, and it didn’t have to be that way.
He could have gone to a contender, turned the league on it’s axis.
He instead will be stuck with an underachieving group role players that have no concept of the summit level of the sport, or what it takes to get there.
I am disappointed in Lebron James, this was his chance to strike back, to join team worthy of challenging the Warriors.
Instead, he cops out, and goes to a location with the lowest expectations possible.
To his credit, Lebron didn’t humiliate the Cleveland Cavaliers on his way out of the door, but the residual pain the franchise will feel from this departure will last for a generation.
The Lakers deserve credit, the franchise was dying, no talent coming in or out, Kobe Bryant destroyed Los Angeles as a free agent destination, and this represents somewhat of a change.
An absolute coup for Magic Johnson, he has lived up to his mandate bring the Lakers back into the conversation, but he has failed to assemble the pieces needed to make a real splash.