Tuesday night time was all about LeBron James breaking the NBA scoring document, however now it’s morphing into one thing just a little bit totally different. LeBron stated one thing very curious throughout a post-game interview with Shaq.
“I do know I can play a pair extra years. The way in which I’m feeling the best way my physique’s been reacting to me all through the course of the season I do know I can play a pair extra years. It’s all about my thoughts. If my thoughts is into it, if I’m nonetheless motivated to exit and attempt to compete for championships, I really feel like that’s what I can nonetheless do for any group of men, for any franchise.”
Yup… for any group of men, for any franchise. Not “the Lakers,” not “this group of men,” however anybody. It might have been merely misspeaking just a little, or a really pointed comment about his future in Los Angeles and easily saying the quiet half out loud.
LeBron has masked his frustration with the group, for essentially the most half. The group’s grand plan to assemble a championship-winning large three of LeBron, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook has been nothing in need of disastrous. Davis has been sensible when obtainable, however routinely injured since becoming a member of the Lakers — whereas Westbrook has been a shadow of his former self during the last two years, and perennially in commerce rumors.
Whereas LeBron has been largely quiet, he couldn’t maintain his tongue when Kyrie Irving was traded to the Mavericks.
LeBron sat down with @RealMikeWilbon to share his ideas on the Lakers not having the ability to commerce for his former teammate Kyrie Irving:
“I can’t sit right here and say I’m not disillusioned on not having the ability to land such a expertise.” pic.twitter.com/2smRTk3Y0c
— ESPN (@espn) February 6, 2023
The Lakers are in a bizarre spot. They’re thirteenth within the west and preventing for a playoff spot, which continues to be potential given there are solely 4 video games between the fifth place Mavericks and the Lakers. Nonetheless, whereas different groups within the convention are making strikes to get higher, Los Angeles has largely been treading water, with their most notable transfer being a commerce for Rui Hachimura.
Couched inside LeBron’s scoring document on Tuesday night time was the truth that the Lakers nonetheless misplaced to the Thunder 133-130, placing them additional again within the standings in a recreation the place all of their large three was obtainable.
Are the Lakers prepared for yet one more championship push with LeBron on the helm, or is the group seeking to tear all of it down and rebuild? At this level no person is aware of for sure. LeBron may be traded within the low season, ought to he determine to pressure his approach out — or Los Angeles could have virtually max-level cash in free company, ought to they commerce Westbrook. So actually, every part is within the stability proper now.
That stated, if LeBron decides to depart and he actually does imply any group, then we are able to actually have some enjoyable with this.
The 4 dumbest/funniest areas for LeBron James to land if he leaves the Lakers
It will be type of unbelievable to carry this again to the place all of it started, and for what it’s value it appears the Cavs are maintaining this door open. The group is already constructed to compete with Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, and Cleveland has been curiously maintaining its 2024 decide of their pocket — which is the primary yr Bronny James might enter the NBA.
Father and son reuniting in Cleveland? It’s dumb, and I like it.
If you wish to put a stake within the “MJ vs. LeBron” debate, then what higher approach that coming to Chicago and profitable a title in Jordan’s home? It will actually up the anti and hoooo, the drama could be scrumptious.
Let’s get even stupider. The Hornets are ass-bad and they’re determined to assemble famous person expertise round LaMelo Ball. Think about a scenerio the place we re-invoke the identical MJ vs. LeBron debate, however this time with James coming to Charlotte and profitable the primary title in NBA historical past for the group Jordan owns.
Bringing the Hornets again from the doldrums could be his best achievement.
New York Knicks
It’s the Knicks. I might finish this with a “nuff stated,” and also you’d get it — however think about what getting the Knicks over the hump would imply for LeBron’s legacy. It’s not clear how he’d match with Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, however it could be a compelling sufficient roster to undoubtedly push the Knicks larger than the place they’re at proper now.
In the long run, what occurs?
The most secure guess is to imagine the obvious path: LeBron stays in Los Angeles. Is he comfortable proper now? Completely not, however I believe it’s far safer to take his “any franchise” remark as a shot throughout the bow on the Lakers entrance workplace forward of the commerce deadline, slightly than him dropping gloves and wanting out.
LeBron is just not the issue on the Lakers, it’s the expertise round him. If AD can get wholesome once more, and the plug is pulled on the Russell Westbrook experiment, then there’s no cause to doubt this group couldn’t be again to contending for a title in brief order. The query simply pivots as to if Los Angeles can discover the solutions he’s in search of.