After a completely nightmarish start to the season, with the Los Angeles Lakers riding 13th in the Western Conference, LeBron James is ready to leave this chaos. Unfortunately, 24 losses in 43 games are not the numbers you would expect from a LeBron team, which means that something is not adding up within the Lakers’ system and locker room.
If you ask me, building a team around LeBron is not the best option right now for the Lakers. Simply put, things are not flowing as planned. This team must first figure out what’s up within their existing roster. With players like Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers definitely need to decide a future for their team and players. Once they figure out what to do with them, the Lakers will become the strong team we always have known.
Big Changes in Los Angeles
The Lakers are en route to missing the playoffs for the second time in a row. After losing the Finals in the 2020 bubble against the Miami Heat, things got messy for the Lakers and got worse as time progressed. This season the Lakers started 0-5, the first winless streak of this kind for LeBron since his NBA debut in 2003 with the Cavaliers. But how did they get to that point? My money is on the team’s big changes and injuries.
Significant changes are not easy to handle. Just imagine your debut as an NBA coach after being an assistant for over 10 years. Well, that’s the story of Darvin Ham, LA’s head coach. But dreams can easily turn into nightmares. Ham said his team would need time and patience to find its chemistry. From where I’m standing, though, it seems as if people are getting tired of it. Being a Laker means greatness and being a winner, and Ham’s Lakers are not even close to that right now.
Injuries played a part in Ham’s squad’s struggles since he joined the team, especially AD going back and forth with his right foot injury problems. I mean, it’s not good to depend on a player, but we’re talking about one of the best forwards in the league, even included on the NBA 75th anniversary team. Of course, the Lakers need that type of resource if they want to win another of those shiny rings.
2023 Draft May Be Golden Ticket
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka wants LeBron on the team, which doesn’t make any sense if you hear about the Lakers’ interests. LA wants some extra spots on the 2023 draft to bring some youth and fresh air to the roster. But to earn some draft picks, they’ll need a couple of trades.
Pelinka wants to build a new team around LeBron, but honestly, I cannot support that type of out-of-pocket thought. Trying to keep James playing for them seems a little bit greedy, as that would eliminate the chances to gain those draft spots. So if they want to build a new team, they’ll need to trade almost every player on their roster, something that’s not adding up to Ham’s mentality. Big stress and a lot of noise surround a 38-year-old LeBron, who still has buckets. I think it’s time to let it go for the Lakers, secure those draft spots and stick to the initial plan.
“Playing basketball at this level just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA,” James said when addressing the lack of results this season. In other words, he’s tired of carrying the whole team and coaching staff.
LeBron signed an extension a few months ago that ties him to the team until the 2023-24 season, so if any team wants him right now, they will need to pay a big check. There are a couple of possible destinations for the king. If I were ‘Bron, Cleveland, Golden State and Miami would be my main options, and here’s why.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: The king would return to his first NBA team and be near his hometown. James would be highly motivated to join the Cavs and remember the good old days when he won his first NBA championship.
- Golden State Warriors: Curry, James, and Klay. I think that explains itself. The king could become the biggest villain in the league, ready to win at least another title and possibly make history playing with the best team of all time.
- Miami Heat: Personally, I consider this the best option. Playing in the East would allow James to avoid the Warriors until the finals, and he would once again join a great Miami team. Of course, the Heat would need a lot of trades to free some space to make room for King James, but everything can happen.
It’s a Wrap
We all want to see LeBron win his fifth ring before retirement. But I would say he has a bigger plan in store named Bronny James.
‘Bron’s oldest son, Bronny, will join the league in a couple of years, and it would be legendary to witness that generational swap.
James made us believe in magic and inspired all of us with his behavior inside and outside the court. He went from a kid to a man playing ball, and I’m sure that the ball will give him the closure he deserves.