Last night, Lebron James announced through his agency that he had agreed to a 4-year, $154M deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. With Lebron moving out West, that means we’ll be seeing a power shift in the East, even more competition in the West, and other superstar free agents possibly teaming up with Lebron. Let’s take a look to see what the NBA will look like over the next few years.
Lebron had dominated the East ever since I could remember (2009-2018), and it basically didn’t matter how good your team was because at the end of the day he’d find a way to make it to the Finals. Well now that he’s gone, there’s really only two teams left that could win the conference. We’re talking some Boston and Philly action here. The “Massholes” vs the “Philly Trash”.
The two squads met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the Celtics won in 5. The series’ individual games were a lot closer than what a 5 game series would suggest, and it just came down to the young 76ers choking a majority of the time at the end of the game against the young, but more playoff experienced Boston Celtics.
An improved and more experienced Ben Simmons should help the 76ers if these two were to meet in the playoffs again, and maybe even Markelle Fultz could help Philly out too. The Celtics’ would also receive a boost with the return of Kyrie Irving from injury. If I’m a Celtics fan though, I’d be worried about Kyrie. Kyrie’s situation started out as just getting a minor surgery that was supposed to sideline him for three weeks. That turned into some complications that caused him to miss the entire playoffs. Then next thing you know, the Celtics are offering him in the trade to Kawhi. If Danny Ainge is trading someone, then you know they’re about to fall off the map completely. Examples: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett being traded to Brooklyn. Everyone knew they were old and declining, but neither produced like they did in Boston. Example: ISAIAH THOMAS. So like I said, if Danny Ainge is trying to ship your ass off then that means your worst days are ahead of you. Hopefully Kyrie will be able to return from his injury and be the player he used to be, and hopefully Ben Simmons can learn how to shoot. If all the players on these two teams are able to reach their full potential and stay healthy, then this should be a very entertaining rivalry over the next couple of years.
The Western Conference is much much much much deeper than the East, but it’s ultimately ruled by the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. Now with Lebron arriving in LA, it should be a fun threesome to see who can win the conference. And if PG13 and Westbrook can figure out things in OKC, then expect it to be a four-way for the conference. Some of us in the sex-talk world like to refer to that as an orgy.
With Trevor Ariza leaving for Phoenix, Houston is losing one of their better scorers. Now there’s a chance that they lose their big man Clint Capela (restricted free agent) if the contract he’s offered by someone is too much for the Rockets to match.
Golden State is Golden State and they still have three of the best scorers in the world on their team, including the two best in Steph and KD. They did just lose a key piece to their dynasty in JaVale McGee (lol), as he jumped ship to go play with Bron in LA. Ultimately, the Warriors are still the most talented team in the league and should still be the favorites to win the NBA. Unless…….
LOS ANGELES SUPER TEAM
Now that the Lakers have Lebron and know they’re going to have a window of four years to compete, they’re going to pursue Kawhi Leonard even harder. They may have to give up a few solid, young pieces but at the end of the day it’s worth it if it means you get a Top 5 player in the world. There may be some concern with Kawhi’s injury, but I think everyone knows that he was ok to play at the end of the year and chose not to due to San Antonio’s handling of his injury. Expect LA to go after big man Demarcus Cousins, and they can offer him the contract that they were going to give Paul George. These three plus Lonzo Ball are a solid lineup. If the Lakers are able to keep Kuzma, put him in at PF and you have a lineup better than Golden State’s. The Lakers have a lot of young talent (Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram) that they may have to trade away to get Kawhi. They’re also at risk of losing Julius Randle in free agency. But if they can sign veteran free agents to be solid players off the bench like they did with JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson, then I expect them to be able to overtake Golden State in just a couple of years, if not the first year of their super team.