$154 million. That’s quite a lot of money. But for the Los Angeles Lakers, its a steal for one of the best players in the history of basketball: LeBron James
Everyone wants James on their team. Whether it be the Boston Celtics or Portland Trailblazers, superstar power like LeBron is in high demand. But as age begins to creep into 34-year-old James’ game, can he lead another team to a championship like he did with the Cleveland Cavaliers?
In 2016, James led the Cavaliers and overturned a historic 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors to win an NBA Championship title, the first for Cleveland. The Warriors had three all-stars in Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But with players like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, James wasn’t too short of firepower himself. Regardless, his victory was well deserved with Irving and James both putting up massive numbers in crucial games. Now that James is in Los Angeles, his chances for another championship should be high, especially considering the culture the Lakers have produced. Or is it?
Before James arrived at the Lakers, they were known for having a promising young core comprised of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma. However, despite their potential, they still posted an awful season in 2017. With only 35 wins and 47 losses, the 11th place Lakers in the Western Conference desperately needed a star. They found that star in James. They added pieces like Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and Javale Mcgee in hopes of replicating the strong supporting cast James had with Irving and Love.
However, the Laker’s little project is beginning to fade as injuries plague the Lakers. With Rondo out for 32 games to hand injuries, Lonzo out to ankle issues and James out for 18 games to a groin injury, the Laker’s backcourt has suffered tremendously. It is evident as Lakers are now 30-33, nearly out of playoff contention. For the Lakers to retain their spot in the playoff race, James needs to better his gameplay immediately, a difficult task as he is already averaging a triple-double following his injury.
In the end, the Laker’s playoff contention comes down to James’ supporting cast. There is only so much one man can do in a team sport like basketball. With the trade deadline in early Feb., the Lakers really just have one solution now; Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or anyone on the team has to step up and shoulder a portion of James’ burden.
James is 34 years old. He can’t keep on taking shots and driving down the lane like a freight train. Age is seeping into his game, and it is evident through his recent playstyle.
Can LeBron lead another team to a Championship? I sure hope so but seeing his current supporting cast, if nothing changes, it seems that he may just miss the playoffs.