The 4 month saga with the Pelicans organization is over. Now it’s his time to win big in the NBA after very little playoff (2015 and 2018) success.
Finally can become a champ
His best chance in the Western Conference. He’s been the best player on his team since he was a rookie in 2013, and has been an All NBA player since then. Getting to dominant big man averages such as 28 ppg and 12 rpg, while having the moves of a perimeter player (used to be a PG before growth spurt), he showed how great he was. In his third season in the NBA, he led his team to the NBA playoffs, in the ultra competitive Western Conference with no other all star, which very few players early in their career can do. So him getting swept in a 1st round exit by the eventual champions of 2015, the Golden State Warriors, was expected.
It was even more competitive than the record shows. It then the team started to regress for two years until the Pelicans obtained Demarcus Cousins in the middle of the 2017 season. They would for a year have similar averages of 26 ppg and 13 rpg, and 1st team NBA potential (Davis is primarily a PF in case you’re confused). With a good bench and players such as Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday, Nikola Mirotic, and a great coach in Alvin Gentry, all bets were off and it seemed he would finally get all the help he needed.
Then Demarcus Cousins got his Achilles Tendon tear last year that hurt their playoff chances. Sure they swept the disappointing Blazers (who responded big this year, way to go), but were no match to the Warriors who got Steph Curry back from injury. The 2019 season without Boogie Cousins who left to join the Golden State Warriors, and a less talented/skill roster hurt their team.
Knowing he is a top 5 player easily when healthy, he has said he wants to maximize his chances to win. He’s proven that he was that dominant by scoring 32 points in a 26 minute outing in a home game to boos in February. It’s not about his individual success, which is better than half the people in the Hall of Fame already. Being loyal isn’t the issue, it’s the fact he’s not winning, and he has mentioned it’s about his legacy. Which means it’s about winning now. Hearing things like that tells me he’s not thinking about his next max contract, he’s wanting to be successful and not be even more wealthy than he already is was refreshing to hear.
Getting traded to the lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and draft picks is an example of his ability. Going to LeBron who is a champion, and wants to win as badly as him still at this point of his, will definitely bolster his chances of winning in the hard Western Conference.
As of July 6th, he’s officially a LAKER!
Helps LeBron get a chance to win in his last prime years
I’ve estimated the end of the most elite (Kobe, MJ, Tim Duncan) basketball players run end at 36 before they show signs of wear and tear. LeBron, with the way he has been taking care of his body since the back problems he had in the past (2014–2015 season is when it was known publicly), has definitely extended his career. The thing is, he will be in his 17th season this upcoming 2019–2020, and that means he has 1–2 years left of being the dominant best player in the world he’s been since 2009. Not that he won’t be great, (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and continue being almost as good as he was in the mid-late ‘80s), but he won’t be doing what he did when he went to 8 straight finals.
Then again, that doesn’t matter then because that means he’ll be a good player even until the end of his career. Being at his stature at this point of his career, being at least good, is better than most players in the league. His basketball IQ and talent is so much greater than the others. He’s also a rare player in the NBA that can be great even after 15 years of playing at a high level. So getting Anthony Davis will maximize his chance of winning now before his career is up and he can have more claim to be the GOAT over Michael Jordan.
Could They Land Other Superstars?
Probably not. Kyrie is an eccentric, enigmatic personality, and he does love fooling with the media and public, even his former teammate loves doing the same, but going against one of the reasons he left Cleveland is just not logical. He left because he wanted to be his own man and leader for his own team without being under the spotlight with LeBron. His two year run with the Celtics didn’t go the way it was supposed to as they went from being one game away from the NBA finals, to losing in the second round. There are also reports he’s more inclined of going near home with places as the Nets and Knicks being his main options. Reports say he’s most likely to choose Brooklyn in the end. Still, isn’t it fun to guess he might join up with LeBron? He was shown being in LA a few weeks after being bounced in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Kawhi ever since the medical issues with the Spurs came to the public knowledge, had also had his uncle Dennis become his manager. Whom has the perception of running Kawhi’s whole life and contributes to the public’s belief of Kawhi being an odd person (he’s a cool guy, people just don’t get him) as they’re from LA we’re led to believe he would love to be home. I think there is a great chance that he could go to LA. The problem is, will it be for the Lakers or Clippers? Being from LA, he knows of the legacy that the Lakers have, but knowing how competitive he is, could he try to establish a new one against LeBron and AD as a Clipper?
He did just wing a ring with Toronto this year, but the East will keep getting better with the Sixers only going to get better, the Pacers, Bucks, etc. Especially with the west getting stronger, what are his best chances to win, to stay in the East and potentially lose, or face the hardest challenges in the West and get through the Finals with a better chance of securing rings at a higher succession. The East is still weaker than the West, so this isn’t a slight against the conference. It’s Kawhi Leonard’s decision to see where he’ll be the happiest and honestly, I think will be in LA as the other places are temporary one plus one deal and LA is home. It’s just as I said, which franchise will he pick.
The Lakers then are out of options of big superstars as KD and Klay are hurt, and they got AD already, so maybe getting great role players should be their goal now in order to get the most of the last few years of LeBron’s prime.
Helps the LA Lakers show they’re still the big brother in LA
Since Kobe’s unfortunate injury that saw him play some of the best basketball of his career in 2013, (34-35 at year 17 averaging 27 on 47% is crazy) the Lakers haven’t been in the playoffs since. The injuries Kobe suffered at in the last 3 years were crippling for the Lakers franchise, which was around the time the Clippers became the successful franchise in town since acquiring Chris Paul in 2012. Imagine if Chris was a Laker instead, how different the franchise would be.
Nevertheless, after failing to pick up free agents and have trade success since the Dwight Howard debacle, they became reliant on draft picks. Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart are all good players that were on the Lakers before and or with LeBron. The thing is the organization is built on winning now and then keeping a successful playoff team for years. That wasn’t going to happen at the rate these players were developing. Thankfully for the Lakers, the Clippers were underachievers in the playoffs, especially the fact they never made the Western Conference Finals.
Even though they had the best pure point guard of our generation, one of the best coaches in the NBA, another superstar, and a great supporting cast, how did they do so little? By 2017, the Clippers had to retool. Sure their organization seems better to run and the players know their role, but no major success is coming soon. This has given the Lakers time to have their mess-ups and finally land big free agents acquisitions in order to show they’re still the marquee team in LA.
This Anthony Davis trade takes them over the top as a team that can become the favorite in the West due to LeBron’s experience with meshing well with new great talents relatively fast. The Lakers have to take the necessary steps of building around these two for 3 more years to ensure immediate success (RINGS!)
Changes The NBA Dynamics (Western Conference)
LeBron returns to the NBA playoffs and might have a new dynasty if they get an extra superstar or Kuzma breaks out into an all star (which I believe he definitely can). With the Warriors losing their two superstars, they’ll still be a playoff team, just can’t have a deep playoff run without one of them. This means teams like the Rockets who were bounced out by the warriors 4 times in the last 5 years have a better chance of making it out of the West now. Or The Trail Blazers that have been swept by the Warriors 2 out of the past 3 seasons. New successful teams like the Jazz and Nuggets get a bigger chance of making their mark in the new decade. The whole Eastern Conference that is steadily improving, could see their chances thwarted because of LeBron and AD’s pairing. Adam Silver is placing higher salary caps and teams will benefit from it if they use it correctly to build teams to help their franchise (Let’s not hope as we might get a Nicolas Batum situation instead). Instead of the monopoly of the Warriors, we might see the ascension of a top market team back to prominence, and the most competitive and entertaining season we’ve had in years.
This is a good time to be a fan. After a few years of the dynasty of the Warriors and bland NBA finals, we can see new teams that will be successful in the 2020’s show they’re ready for the NBA and new powerhouses being formed. If you asked me in 2015 if the NBA would look like this, I would have said no, that LeBron & Kyrie would still be a Cavs, KD wouldn’t have been a Warrior, and the league wouldn’t have had 4 straight finals of the same teams. Now, as fans, we can see something new play out with LeBron getting a new addition to his collection of Robin’s, and that’s always good to see.