We’re in the midst of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors and there’s one thing missing this year that was consistent in eight consecutive years prior – superstar LeBron James.
LeBron James made eight straight NBA finals from the Eastern Conference – four in a row with the Miami Heat and then another four in a row with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He won three out of eight of those championships and then traveled west to join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year deal.
And after only one season, LeBron James’ Lakers tenure might already be over if this one thing happens.
It was a disastrous season for the Los Angeles Lakers. In the offseason, one of the NBA’s most historic franchises thought they struck gold when they landed the biggest free agent.
But that fairy tale of championship aspirations hit a brick wall when the 34-year-old went down with a groin tear. James missed about one third of the season and there was no way the Lakers could keep their head above water without him.
Things got even worse when Earvin “Magic” Johnson abruptly quit as the Lakers President of Basketball Operations, which James admitted shocked him. On his HBO show “The Shop,” James told the story about the minute he found out and he was visibly shocked how it all went down.
In the coming days, they fired head coach Luke Walton. Then the Lakers courted head-coaching candidates including former Cavaliers head coach, Tyronn Lue, until they ultimately hired Frank Vogel.
And just when you think matters couldn’t get even worse, ESPN insider Baxter Holmes wrote a scathing bombshell piece outlining the massive amount of dysfunction within the Lakers front office and even anonymous players noted just how ridiculous it had gotten.
That’s why new rumors are spreading like wildfire that if the Lakers whiff on free agency and aren’t available to make any big time roster moves then James will demand a trade.
ESPN Lakers reporter Bill Plaschke noted, “I’m hearing that, if they whiff on free agency, and if they whiff on a trade — which I don’t know how likely that is, but if that happens, they’ve got big trouble with LeBron. Why would LeBron — I mean, the LeBron era could be over before it starts here.”
He followed that comment with, “I heard this for the first time yesterday. Somebody very connected said, ‘You know what, if they whiff, LeBron’s going to say either, ‘I’m out of here,’ or ‘Get me out of here,’ or the Lakers better just might as well just get him out of here.’ ”
This shouldn’t come as a surprise that LeBron wouldn’t want to play for a franchise as dysfunctional as the Los Angeles Lakers. But it seems a little far-fetched because everyone knows one of the biggest reasons why he came to the Lakers was for his future business in Hollywood.
But the Los Angeles Clippers might be an intriguing choice. After all, the Lakers and Clippers play in the same arena, the Staples Center, so he wouldn’t have to pick up and move away from his business.
They also surprisingly made the playoffs with zero all-stars and they’re only going to get better. Also, legendary NBA player Jerry West – who put together the current Golden State Warriors – is the Clippers new president.