So LeBron James will be a Laker for this coming season and August is approaching as everyone wonders whether he will sign an extension with the Lakers until at least 2024, from the looks of it does not seem like it. The Lakers have gotten younger but they seem adament on holding on to their future draft picks and not appeasing LeBron by trading them away. LeBron could care less about draft picks, he wants to win while he still can but it seems like the Lakers aren’t quite listening. Former teammate Kyrie Irving remains a Brooklyn Net and I am sure LeBron would gift wrap Westbrook with a bow and send him away if he could chase at least 1 more championship with the man he made a historical 3-1 back with against a 73-9 team 2016.
We’ve heard a reunion with the Cavaliers is possible but will LeBron be willing to adjust his play-style by deferring to rising star Darius Garland who looks like he could be a cross between Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry from now till 2030. Watching LeBron in LA he’s not the freight train he once was in Miami and even in his tenure in Cleveland 2015-2018, LeBron settling for jumpshots more often is nothing new even if he shot 9 3’s a game last season getting his shot off the dribble has become a big part of his game. LeBron can still turn it up on both ends when needed, he proved it in The Bubble and I am sure he could do it again he just can’t be taxed with having to carry a flawed roster any longer. Fathertime is undefeated but for LeBron his fathertime might just be to become a more traditional small-forward as he approaches retirement.
Former Celtic Paul Pierce who was also one of LeBron’s rivals once said LeBron would be easier to build a team around if he would just choose to play one position, assuming he goes back to Cleveland he just might have to make the adjustment. Not Dwyane Wade,not Kyrie Irving, not even Anthony Davis has been able to supplant LeBron James as a first option, we’ve been waiting on Davis to take the baton from LeBron but I don’t think he ever will one reason is because he is a sidekick at heard and two he is a big man who yes has guard skills but he’s not a good enough play-making big to convince new head coach Darvin Ham that LeBron should play a more off-ball role in order to feature Davis more often.
LeBron understands the Lakers as an organization have always been about winning and after this past season was over he was adamant on winning more championships going into his future. He sounded like a man who was expecting Rob Pelinka to work some magic this off-season and if there is one thing we have learned from LeBron is that if he is ever at odds with a team owner he tends to leave, Pat Riley forewent improving the Heat’s roster in LeBron’s last year in Miami and practically told LeBron I’m done making tweaks figure it out however you can. The result a slaughter in the Finals at the hands of a Spurs team destined for revenge after letting the 2013 Larry O’Brien trophy get away due to lackadaisical play in the fourth quarter of Game 6.
I’ve never been a Laker fan but this isn’t the picture I would be wanting to painting for LeBron assuming they want him around for at least another 2 seasons. The team on paper beyond LeBron and Davis is flawed, if LeBron was in his prime the Lakers would be the favorites for the championship even with the questionable fit of Russell Westbrook but as he approaches 38 years of age LeBron can no longer physically control a game on both ends of the floor as an elite defender,elite play-maker,and elite scoring all at the same time for 82 games and an entire playoff run. LeBron at this point in his career can be an elite scorer,play-maker,and defender come playoff time but he needs a team fully capable of competing without him when he hits the bench for a breather.
Assuming Westbrook remains a Laker I do believe a championship is still possible so long Westbrook abides by new head coach Darvin Ham and allows himself to be used in the best way to improve the Lakers as a team. So what would it take for LeBron to remain a Laker beyond this coming season? A championship next season with a chance to win 6 rings in a Laker uniform, sounds like a pipe-dream but anything is possible. The Cleveland situation sounds intriguing but LeBron fulfilled his purpose there already, it’s a bridge which should not be crossed again. Retiring a Laker will prove a lot of LeBron critics wrong, if he can conquer the adversity he has faced the past 2 seasons and win at least 1 more championship with the Lakers you can no longer say he always took the easy way out, anyways till next time.