Fathertime and LeBron James seem to be going hand and hand a lot more now since he has barely played over 60 games a season as a Laker and quite frankly he has not been the clear cut best player in the game ever since coming over to the Lakers. There has been a lot of turnover in Los Angeles ever since they won the championship in The Bubble, the Lakers moved two key role players in Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Russell Westbrook practically and they also thought losing Alex Caruso wouldn’t have been a big deal so they let him get away to Chicago and now the Lakers are counting on unknowns Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown to finally hit their strides in their respective careers and reach their full potential. I like both Lonnie and Troy hopefully they’ll be on the Lakers next season regardless of how this season plays out but as far as Russell Westbrook goes, I am ecstatic he is flourishing coming off the bench but what’s the scenario there? He plays well all season and it carries onto the playoffs and they win a round or 2? Or at best make a shocking Conference Finals appearance much like Patrick Beverley envisioned assuming the Lakers brought him over 6 months back when he was in Minnesota?
Kyrie Irving can’t seem to comprehend that he is payed to play basketball and not act like a philosopher forcing his personal views on others concerning the world’s mattters. I’ve always been a LeBron fan but I’ve never cared much for anything he ever did or is currently doing outside of basketball, same with Kyrie Irving I’ve always admired his skill-level with a ball in his hands and also how much of a seamless fit he was alongside LeBron James in Cleveland. I remember them both walking down the tunnel after losing the 2017 NBA Finals as Kyrie Irving caught up to LeBron James and LeBron told him “we’ll be back” and the off-season hits and Kyrie Irving asks out of Cleveland. I enviosioned Kyrie Irving and LeBron James running it back and looking for revenge together the 2018 NBA Finals and till this day I still wonder what could’ve been had Kyrie Irving not let his ego get in the way. Irving proved he could shoulder his own team his first season as a Celtic as he lead them to the best record in the league before suffering a season-ending injury but he never even made a Conference Finals appearance in Boston and neither has he done it in Brooklyn with superstar Kevin Durant as his ally.
As far as I am concerned LeBron James will forever go down the greatest player ever even if Michael Jordan has 2 more rings and a bit more awards, a fifth or sixth title would help but his body of work speaks for itself. He has an option after next season which he could exercise and as of right now with the way Evan Mobley is emerging in Cleveland I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes a second return to Cleveland in search of a 5th championship before he finally calls it quits. Cleveland will also have leverage drafting Bronny James down the line but I am not sure how he would fit in with Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell already holding down the backcourt going forward, unless Cleveland decides to make a bold decision and move away from Darius Garland in order to make room for Bronny James at point guard. The same could be said for Kyrie Irving who might have to make the switch to shooting guard assuming the Lakers draft Bronny James in the 2024 NBA Draft because I just can’t envision Bronny being physically and mentally ready to adapt to an off the ball roll which Kyrie would be much more comfortable playing as he did it with James Harden in their short stint together in Brooklyn.
The facts are LeBron James is no longer the superhuman he once was when he had defenses at his mercy and even if you knew he was coming full-speed from the top of the key there was nothing you could do against his dribble-drive game, 80-90 percent of the time he was either shredding defenses and finding shooters all over the court or finishing at the rim with acrobatic finishes or the best in game dunks you could ever think of. The motor is still there and he could still tap into being that guy but at this point in his playing career he can no longer compensate for a team’s deficiencies and still get you deep in the playoffs, need I remind you he will be 38 years old December and plays a sport where you are running non-stop a good 50-60 percent of the time and can’t sit on the sidelines like Tom Brady can and watch your teammates hold it down on defense till you can return to the field. I haven’t mentioned Anthony Davis because I never expected him to take the reins from LeBron James in Los Angeles because I just never found Davis’s tenure in New Orleans all that impressive aside from his high-scoring outputs and all-world ability. Not that Kyrie Irving will take the reins from LeBron James but he would be the equalizer between LeBron James and Anthony Davis which we are so desperately waiting on Russell Westbrook to become which likely won’t happen.
I’ve been watching basketball for close to 25 years now and I remember Michael Jordan’s tenure in Washington as well as Kobe Bryant’s last years in Los Angeles and I remember how odd it was to visually see that although Mike and Kobe were basketball legends and assassins of the highest order on the basketball court age made them look mortal at some point. Considering at the level that young superstars Giannis Antetokoumpo,Luka Doncic,and Ja Morant are playing at early on this season for LeBron James to win another title in Los Angeles he will need Kyrie Irving because this current Laker team is devoid of enough talent to not only get through 3 rounds in a very competitive Western Conference but to also take out a prime Giannis Anteotokoumpo who will very likely be waiting at the mountaintop over the next 2-3 seasons. Although Kyrie Irving and LeBron James only won 1 title together in Cleveland they were arguably the best duo in NBA history as they did the unthinkable the 2016 NBA Finals anchoring a legendary 3-1 comeback against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. It’s been over 6 years since that occassion but is it out of reach for them to get together and make it happen one last time in Los Angeles? That’s a gamble I am willing to take, if GM Rob Pelinka really wants to get LeBron to the end like he said he did bringing over Irving all but guarantees LeBron will retire a Laker.