LeBron James has always been labeled a mercenary, his critics would say he has no identity since he has played for 3 different franchises throughout his illustrious career but I’ve always appreciated LeBron for what he brings to the basketball court as he has had his reasons for leaving certain teams behind in the past but that’s just life in general. Sometimes you have to move on to greener pastures, he’s been in the NBA half of his entire life why just rot away on 1 franchise and never be remembered much like Dominique Wilkins who was a first-ballot hall-of-famer yet no one ever brings him up since he rotted away in Atlanta practically his entire playing career and never had a good enough team to compete for a championship. LeBron is in a situation right now where he does not have much of a choice, he’s better off just aiming to shut up John Salley who is clearly starved of attention after declaring the NBA won’t allow LeBron to surpass Kareem as the all-time leading scorer much like they stopped Kobe Bryant from shattering Wilt Chamberlain’s record when he went off for 81 points in the mid 2000’s. Sad it has to happen this way but LeBron might have to leave Los Angeles over the summer if he wants at least 1 more championship before finally playing with his son and calling it quits.
It’s the most odd thing because you would expect LeBron surpassing Kareem on the all-time scoring list to have major significance but being that he will likely break the record as a Laker but since he plays for the franchise where a majority of critics come from only a true LeBron fan will appreciate that moment. As far as the Phoenix Suns go they look like the same old Phoenix Suns, seems like they’ll yet again be a top 5 seed out West but will once again fall short come playoff time. Sorry Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges as I don’t see either making a big enough leap to help make the Phoenix Suns a true contender for 2023 NBA Championship. The jury was still out for me with Deandre Ayton but I’ve reached the point where I’m just done waiting on him to ever become a top 5 center in the NBA. He’s not dominant defensively or offensively and has failed to take the next step in his development even after being shattered to pieces by Giannis Antetokoumpo in the 2021 NBA Finals. Devin Booker? The best shooting guard in the game. Chris Paul? No longer a superstar just no longer built to be the 1st or even 2nd option on a championship team. In comes LeBron James who would be the piece the Phoenix Suns need to finally get over the hump.
I can’t help but hearken back to when LeBron and Paul got together after a game in Phoenix which was a must win game for a Los Angeles Laker team looking to qualify for the play-in-tournament and I remember LeBron doing the same with Lonzo Ball when he was a rookie. The brief pep-talk led to LeBron joining Lonzo in Los Angeles, was LeBron’s talk with Paul a sign of what’s to come in the future? For LeBron it would be the dream scenario as their should be no concerns about ball control in Phoenix being that father-time is catching up to Chris and I’m sure he would’t mind coming off the ball for LeBron in order to conserve his body through an entire regular season assuming they join forces next summer. Devin Booker would be the 3-level scorer LeBron James flourished with when he had Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, a guy he could trust to carry a bulk of the load in the regular season which would allow him to be ready physically come playoff time. The difference between Booker and for example Davis would be that if LeBron has to sit out a game or two due to a strain or soreness Devin Booker can carry the team to wing being that he is one of the best combo-guards in the league and knows how to run an offense.
I’ve never seen Anthony Davis as someone who could carry a team on his shoulders, yes he led the New Orleans Pelicans to multiple playoff appearances but he never took them on any serious run in his tenure there and I quite frankly didn’t follow him much because I knew he wasn’t a legitimate 1st option even if he had an onslaught of games where he’d go off for 40+ points and 15+ rebounds. Devin Booker on the other hand also had his fair share of struggles in Phoenix prior to Chris Paul arriving but he would be the better fit for LeBron James at this point in LeBron’s career. Laker Nation can keep hoping Anthony Davis will take the baton from LeBron James and play like the best big man in the game but it’s wishful thinking at this point and I think LeBron knows it. Devin Booker will at least be guaranteed to be the best shooting guard in the game for another 2 years since James Harden,Anthony Edwards,and Jalen Green who I believe are the 3 best candidates for the crown aren’t playing great enough to catch Devin Booker. Booker would work like a glove alongside LeBron whether it’s on a clear out, catching and going off a LeBron pass, or just allowing LeBron to put him in a situation where he can shoot the ball much more freely due to all the attention LeBron will garner alongside Paul and Booker.
I’ve failed to mention head coach Monty Williams because I think he knows much like I do that the roster he has at his disposal does not have enough to compete for a championship. It’s great he gave the team space over the past summer after Luka Doncic completely humiliated them on National TV for 28 points in the 1st half of a Game 7 but I believe Monty knows like I know that Deandre Ayton isn’t going to take the necessary leap in his game to make a trio out of Paul,Booker, and Ayton himself which has been the plan from Day 1 per Chris Paul prior to arriving in Phoenix. LeBron James? He might not be the superhuman he once was but he is still at worst a top 10 player in the NBA and certainly capable of still being the best player in the league if put in the right situation which is exactly what Phoenix would be. The 2021 NBA Finals the Bucks figured out no one beyond Paul or Booker was going to beat them so the game-plan became make Paul and Booker give the ball away as much as possible and of course Ayton was completely frozen out due to having to deal with Giannis and Lopez down low in the paint and he just wasn’t skilled enough to really do much against the Bucks’s interior defense.
As a LeBron fan it would reek to see him being traded away but if he really really wants to be a NBA champion one last time Phoenix is the way. Sure joining Stephen Curry in Golden State or maybe even Luka Doncic in Dallas would likely guarantee him a championship but from a basketball fit standpoint I think Phoenix has everything he needs. The Suns have always felt like fool’s gold ever since Paul arrived, I just couldn’t buy into Paul somehow figuring out a way to win a championship with Booker when he couldn’t even win with Harden in Houston who was at the pinnacle of his career. At least LeBron will be playing with 2 stars motivated to finally get over the hump because Davis and Westbrook look nothing like what they did in the 2010’s and that’s primary the problem. LeBron deserves to take a step back for once in his career or at least to be able to play as a co-star, the days of him being the 1st,2nd, and 3rd option are over although it seems like it’s always been that way even when he played in Miami with Bosh and Wade or in Cleveland with Love and Irving. The Phoenix Suns have a well built roster with an adequate head coach which seems to be 2 areas in which the Los Angeles Lakers are lacking, Did I mention Phoenix Suns GM James Jones is connected with LeBron James due to their ties in Miami? LeBron James joining the Suns could be inevitable.