I was going to try to be clever or eloquent writing out an intro to this story, but the subject itself does all the heavy lifting for me: LeBron James is going to be a Los Angeles Laker next season.
The bright lights of LA were too much for the King to pass up, but Los Angeles offers a lot more than just a big market and a hefty paycheck. James had previously stated that family was going to play a big part in his decision, especially with his oldest son, LeBron Jr., entering high school next year. While Cleveland is James’ hometown, he lives in Los Angeles during the offseason. LA also gives Lebron’s son his best chance at success, as James Jr. is a coveted basketball prospect in his own right, and Los Angeles is home to some of the premier high school programs in the country.
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The Lakers’ on court prospects are looking pretty good as well, even though they missed out on Paul George. Los Angeles has a plethora of cap space to play with, enough to land them another marquee free agent signing. Reports are already coming out that the Lakers’ are interested in Demarcus Cousins, the New Orleans Pelicans’ star center. However, Golden State somehow landed Cousins to add to their laundry list of current All-Stars on its team.
Los Angeles also has their fair share of promising young players including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma. They could grow into stars alongside James, or be packaged in a deal for another star, like the Spurs’ disgruntled forward, Kawhi Leonard. And of course, LeBron James is good at basketball. His presence alone will make the Lakers a force in the Western Conference.
Speaking of the Western Conference, it’s going to be an absolute bloodbath.
Without going into too much detail, there are going to be about ten teams that deserve to play in the playoffs and I cannot wait to see them fight it out for seeding. The West’s final playoff team was decided on the last day of the season last year, and with another team in the mix, things are going to be so wild out west. The Warriors will still probably win the Finals, but hey, we can dream!
All eyes will be out west, but even greater implications might be had in the Eastern Conference. Lebron James has been on the East’s Finals team in each of the last eight seasons, but with his departure it opens up the door for several other teams to make the push for a Finals appearance. By “several other teams” I primarily mean my favorite team, the Boston Celtics, who lost to James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. They were able to take Cleveland to seven games even with all-stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving out due to injury.
Some might argue that the Philadelphia 76ers have a chance to come out of the East, but I can’t say I’m too worried about the team that just had to part ways with their GM because his wife was anonymously leaking confidential information via fake twitter accounts (this really happened, and it’s somehow way weirder than it sounds).
This is all speculation, and everything depends on what the Lakers do next. One thing we can say for certain is that the NBA’s free agency is in full force, and I’m just going to sit back and soak in the madness.
Featured image created by Peter Kolb/Print Editor-in-Chief.