Because he can, LeBron has everyone waiting for The Decision Part II. He is playing a human version of Jenga. Whether he stays for more Cavalier purgatory or leaves for the wilds of the unknown (bet on the wilds), there is going to be some kind of crash, particularly for those who he rejects like Cleveland and/or Los Angeles.
But you can’t- as a human person- not look at how this is unfolding and think the LeBron show is more than theater. It is entertainment, gossip and guessing. It is interesting for a league that doesn’t have an off-season. It keeps social media humming. But no one expects LeBron to win title number 4 one year from now. There is house money that LeBron never gets to title number 4 ever. But, try and try again is what his career has been about.
LeBron is not afraid of starting over with a new crew. Still. Tidal waves happen on the most beautiful beaches in the world. There is no anticipating disaster until disaster hits.
It Can Go Sideways
Houston. Chris Paul gets injured. It’s familiar and a possibility. Paul has only played a full 82 games once. He only played 80 games twice. He has a 64 game season in the books. A 45 game season. A 62 and 61 game season, not to mention two playoff runs where he had to bow out early. He does have this thing about getting hurt and because of his style of play, the ultimate playing chess and not checkers player, when he goes out the team suffers big time. As if the CP3 effect isn’t enough, then it’s the fact that to pay LeBron what he deserves, wants and will demand, it is goodbye to Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson.
Clint Capela, if he wants to take one for the team in his restricted year, can accept the qualifying offer and play for next to nothing in 2018-19 as LeBron’s teammate and then hit the free agent market in 2019-20. But who turns down $65 million? Even with Harden, LeBron and CP3, the Rockets still need role players and with a crew of minimum contract players only, it’s a fragile tightrope.
Philly. The idea of LeBron joining Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is tantalizing because you have two players at the beginning of their careers joining LeBron during the last years of his. It’s an ideal pairing even if there are some obvious conflicts. Simmons and LeBron are the same kind of player. Where Dwayne Wade could defer to LeBron because he was an iso player with a midrange jumpshot, Ben Simmons, when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands, is invisible because he doesn’t have an offensive repertoire. Yet. How long it will take Simmons to develop consistent offensive game- teams will just sag off of him and double LeBron- is up in the air. Plus the supporting cast needs a huge upgrade.
Yes to Redick but for how much if you are paying LeBron? There has to be more pieces that can do things with a basketball I.Q. Can Embiid play 80 games going 35 minutes per? Injuries can wreck it all. Three man teams don’t win much anymore. Not to mention, can a Big Three in Philly and thin up and down the bench beat the much deeper Celtics?
Los Angeles. The LeBron Lakers ship could sink faster than the Titanic. Did you check out the Lonzo/Kuzma act. It’s refreshing to see them acting all of 20 and 22 years old. Social media dissing is harmless for the ordinary but for NBA players trying to convince the NBA’s greatest talent they are young but not restless, well they just took a thousand steps back. The Lakers are young and behave like it. There will be times in the season in which they remind everyone they were born after Kobe and KG and Tim Duncan were drafted. LeBron is dialed in these days and not about having a good time but winning. Chemistry issues might blow it all up.
Portland. LeBron in the Pacific Northwest would make up for the 2007 brain freeze of passing up on Kevin Durant for Greg Oden. There are a lot of reasons LeBron would fit in Portland. Dame is the kind of point that would play well with LeBron because off ball he can get buckets. So can C.J. But then there is Evan Turner and Maurice Harkless as your third and fourth best players, not to mention Meyers Leonard and his 2.1 rebounds (he is seven feet tall) in 2017-18. It’s the roster, stupid. It’s better than Cleveland but that second quarter when the stars go to the bench will be brutal.