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 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
The 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
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.