Following the lead of the 76ers and then the Cavs, a Lakers season ticket holder purchased four billboards with his LeBron James love splashed across it. The delusional hope is that, like water, it seeks its own level, as James is in town over the weekend to play the Clippers (Fri) and Lakers (Sun). Whereas the 76ers billboard propped up a clever Complete The Process slogan, and the Cavs billboard had a king’s crown, the L.A. billboards are pretty middle school-esque design class quality, lacking creativity and originality. Because the Lakers were the third team to push chips in the billboard game, they come off as followers and conformists and worse, without much swag. Sometimes it’s not best to go last.
If billboards really mattered, which they don’t, L.A. would lose by a landslide which they are going to do anyway so what was the point except to let everyone know you have money and are willing to burn it up for something ridiculous instead of maybe using it to help all the homeless people on the L.A. streets that are getting arrested by cops for no reason. But I digress.
LeBron’s decision is going to be the hardest decision he has had to make so far. There are not a lot of teams with money and he is doing this solo, absent a Wade or a Bosh. Despite all the punditry, LeBron’s wife and kids are going to have the last word because wherever he goes, they are going to have to want to live there and will have their say. LeBron’s son, LeBron James Jr., is going to be 14 years old by the time the 2018-19 season begins. He is a NBA prospect, if we dare talk about a 14 year in those terms, and LeBron has mentioned wanting to play with him in the league. Now that the league is giving the okay for high schoolers to enter, LeBron the daddy may get his wish to play against his son. But before any of that happens, his son has to play in high school first. What that school is and where it is located and who is the coach is just as important as where LeBron is going to suit up. LeBron is a family man whose kids future is important to him.
Handicapping the race goes something like this:
- Cleveland Pluses: It’s Cleveland. It’s home. He finishes his career there.
- Cleveland Minuses: They need help on the roster, specifically a rim protector and second All-Star creator. Their four pickups were nice role players but until they find a Kyrie replacement they will be on the outside looking in
- Philly Pluses: Young team that can soak up all of LBJ’s knowledge. LeBron will have to do less in the post. They have the All-Star talent to match with LeBron.
- Philly Minuses; He doesn’t fit. Everything he does, Ben Simmons does. LeBron would put Simmons on the bench and suppress his development. Both LeBron and Simmons need the ball in their hands. They both operate in the same space on the court.
- Lakers Pluses: Young talent at point guard, small forward and power forward. No one is a high usage player and they all share the ball. They don’t have a star and need one.
- Lakers Minuses: They don’t have All-Star talent. LeBron would have to do more. Questions run rampant. Would Brandon Ingram go to the bench or would the Lakers slide him into the two guard slot? LeBron and Isaiah don’t fit so would that mean the Lakers say goodbye to Isaiah? Would LeBron demand David Fitzdale to coach and the Luke Walton days would be over?
Since the playoff structure is changing next season where the 16 best teams, regardless of conference, are in and will be seeded accordingly, superstar free agents like LeBron and Paul George no longer have to worry about going to the West and trying to knock off the Warriors before the Finals. A two seed means you won’t see the Warriors until the Finals. In reverse, that helps free agent superstars leave the conference they are in, as conferences will be devalued.
LeBron to L.A. isn’t impossible, it just isn’t likely and billboards aren’t going to change his mind. But who can change his mind in coming to L.A. is Savannah Brinson.