LeBron James 2018 Superteam: Cousins, George, Wall in LA

lebron-james-demarcus-cousinsMost NBA offseason talk has revolved around a guy who isn’t eligible for free agency until 2018. Nevertheless, LeBron James’ next move has become a big topic of discussion.

The media believes the LA Lakers are favored to land James. Much of this has to do with his Brentwood mansion, and the opportunities he’d reap while living in the world’s entertainment capital.

But there’s one big problem: the Lakers aren’t very good right now.

The young LA squad is coming off a 26-56 campaign, which doesn’t exactly fit in with LeBron’s goal of chasing Michael Jordan’s ghost (and rings).

This means that if LeBron bolts Cleveland for the West Coast, he’ll need some firepower to help win. Let’s cover rumors that this firepower could come in the form of Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, and John Wall.

Three Players on the Move?

paul-george-lebron-jamesPaul George has been surrounded with talk of going to LA ever since he announced his intentions months ago. George’s desire to go back home forced Indiana Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard to make a desperation trade with Oklahoma City just to recoup something.

The Thunder gave up Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to land George for one year. The hope is that Oklahoma City plays well enough to convince him to stay. But there’s no guarantee that he and Russell Westbrook’s games will mesh.

Then we have Cousins, who was traded from one bad situation (Sacramento Kings) to another (New Orleans Pelicans). The good news is that Cousins pairs with do-it-all forward Anthony Davis. The bad news is that New Orleans gutted their already limited core to bring Boogie in.

Finally, we have Wall, who’s an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Wall and the Washington Wizards could take another step forward after finishing 49-33 last season. But if they don’t improve this season or next, will Wall re-sign in his late 20s?

Bill Simmons Weighs in on LeBron’s Potential Superteam

john-wall-lebron-jamesThe famed Bill Simmons discussed all of this on his latest podcast, and he may be the first one to put the LeBron-George-Cousins-Wall quartet in LA.

“What if I told you that 12 months from now, LeBron James, Paul George, John Wall, and Boogie Cousins will all be on the Los Angeles Lakers together?” Simmons pondered. “Conspiracy Bill has some things that he doesn’t like about what’s going on. I think the LeBron James–L.A., he hasn’t come out and denied it.

“Everyone’s talking about it in the league, it became public last month. He knows they’re talking about it and hasn’t said anything. Hasn’t said, ‘This is ridiculous. I’m so tired of hearing this. I want to finish my career in Cleveland.’”

Simmons continued connecting the dots by bringing up how Wall is represented by LeBron’s sports agency.

“So, John Wall, represented by Klutch, Rich Paul, LeBron’s buddy. LeBron, it’s pretty clear he either owns Klutch or funded it or has a stake in it,” said Simmons.

“You could have John Wall and LeBron. Paul George is going to the Lakers anyway. I mean, that’s not even a secret anymore. It’s just like, they might as well start selling his jersey. And I always thought John Wall and Boogie are a team.”

Likelihood of these Stars Ending Up in LA

lebron-james-lakersSimmons has been an expert on the NBA for years. So when he floats the idea that Cousins, George, LeBron, and Wall will team up in Los Angeles, it doesn’t sound so crazy.

This is definitely something that would benefit James in his quest to win more championships. After all, he’ll be 33 next summer and will eventually start declining in play. And with the Golden State Warriors constructed to win for the next few seasons, Cleveland’s currently roster doesn’t look capable of winning any more titles.

Of course, there are huge roadblocks in this scenario too. First off, the Lakers just drafted Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall. And the idea is that he’ll be their point guard of the future.

This isn’t to say that they wouldn’t also take Wall too. But will LA really pay Wall’s asking price since they already having a talented point guard?

There’s also Brandon Ingram to think about. Drafted second overall last season, the 19-year-old is considered a key part of the rebuild. But his development could be hindered by an overloaded superteam.

For fun, let’s just say that LA does get this team together. How will they pay Boogie, George, James, and Wall? Will they be able to afford a bench, or even a fifth starter, in this scenario?

In reality, nobody truly knows what LeBron or any of the other future free agents will do in 2018 and beyond. We think there’s a decent chance he does go to LA and draws other big-name players.

As Simmons pointed out, George is likely to be one of these players. But the jury is out on whether Cousins and Wall will be there too.

Lakers Odds 2018

As it now stands, the Lakers don’t have LeBron or any other stars we’ve discussed. What they do have is another young team that probably won’t offer any serious contention for a playoff spot.

This being said, it’s little surprise that we have the Lakers odds of winning the championship at +10,000.

The Lakers figure to improve with a healthy Ingram, the addition of Ball, and the free-agent signing of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Nevertheless, this unit is too young to contend in the muddled West. But that could quickly change next summer if LA gets one or more superstars.

Kobe Bryant calls Lakers out for being “Soft Like Charmin”

kobe-bryantKobe Bryant hasn’t played on too many losing teams in his lengthy NBA career. So one can’t blame him for getting a little miffed at the LA Lakers’ 6-16 start this season.

And Kobe let some of this frustration spill out during a recent scrimmage with his teammates. During a curse-filled rant that was full of trash talking, Bryant repeatedly yelled that the Lakers were “soft like Charmin.” (see below)

He also yelled at GM Mike Kupchak, claiming that “These (expletives) aren’t doing (expletive) for me.” Kobe got on the team’s now-backup point guard Jeremy Lin, challenging him to shoot while adding, “I talked his (expletive) right into that bull—-. I talked his (expletive) right into that bull—-.”

The rants and trash talking weren’t all deemed negative since Bryant was apparently trying to “challenge” his teammates. This is especially true of Nick Young, who seemed to raise his intensity during the scrimmage to compete with Kobe.

“It’s great, especially to see him out there practicing with us…still being a part of the team and trying to get us going,” Young told Lakers Nation. “I think we need that, instead of him just sitting out. He’s gotta play every night but we still need him out on the practice court still helping us out.”

Young is alluding to the fact that Bryant doesn’t practice with the team very often due to his 18 seasons in the NBA. And Kobe explained why he sits out so many practices following the scrimmage:

“It’s balance right. You know at this stage of my career it’s tough to get out there. You know my body’s just not ready, I can’t do it. We have to try and pick our spots a little bit. Hopefully the guys can kind of carry the energy of this practice a little bit. As often as I can get out there and do what I did today I’m all for it. Man I had so much fun being out there. Just a level of excitement to be able to play and compete in practice. I’ve always enjoyed practices more than the games actually.”

The point that Bryant hits on regarding players being able to “carry the energy” to other practices is one that head coach Byron Scott also discussed. “He just brings a different level – it’s not saying that when he’s not there that our level isn’t high,” Scott said. “But when he’s there our level is totally higher. You know he just brings a different element that we don’t have anybody else who can bring that type of element.”

After a season marred by injury, Bryant has come back to play in all 22 of the Lakers’ contests so far this year. He’s averaging 25.5 PPG, which is second in the league behind James Harden (26.4 PPG). Kobe also leads the team in assists with 4.9 APG and averages 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

Unfortunately, he’s also taking 22.4 shots per game and hitting just 39% of these. Young, the team’s second-leading scorer with 14.6 PPG, is even worse from the field, shooting 38.5%. Overall the team is hitting 44.0% of their shots.

While the shooting may not be great for the Lakers, Kobe wants to make sure the intensity is there. And he’s willing to go off on rants to make it happen, as he recently showed. Will it result in more wins. Well if you’re into LA Lakers betting, keep in mind that they have a tough upcoming schedule, including @San Antonio (Dec 12), @Minnesota (Dec 14), @ Indiana (Dec 15) and vs. Oklahoma City (Dec 19).