Passing the Torch

If there ever was an indicator that the NBA’s best player torch was passed to LeBron James after Kobe Bryant announced his retirement a season ago; with LeBron now joining the Los Angeles Lakers, I’d say its crystal clear.

NBA Free agency officially started in the wee hours of the morning today; as we all anxiously anticipated King James’ decision.  Its pretty safe to say that once the NBA Finals concluded, despite his Cleveland Cavaliers falling to the Golden State Warriors, King James remained in the spotlight.

Just about every major sports radio/talk show weighed on of what would be LeBron’s next move?  We all knew there were only a few teams at the forefront of this race, but as fans, we love to speculate and imagine different scenarios that would indeed cause a power shift in the NBA.

I’ll spare the details on all the different scenarios that could’ve happened, but like most, I saw this coming.  I had a feeling he would make his way to LA, just wasn’t sure which LA team it would be?  To me, the Clippers made sense (last summer) considering the close relationship between then PG Chris Paul and James.  Not to mention the Clippers added Jerry West to the Front Office, and from what I’ve heard, he also has a pretty good relationship with LeBron.  Throw in the Clippers desperate need for a small forward and a new multimillion-dollar arena, seemed as if all the pieces were finally falling in line, right?

Wrong!

That dream was killed once CP3 departed to Houston, then Blake (Griffin) left for Detroit shortly after.  From there it became pretty clear, at least in my eyes, that the Lakers would be his choice.

I’m pretty sure LeBron has plenty of business ventures to capitalize on in Hollywood, and despite already owning a home in LA, being a resident would make those opportunities a lot easier, and let’s not forget Magic Johnson was his favorite player growing up.  Now don’t get me wrong, Kobe said the same thing, but it’s still a little hard for me to believe.  As great of a player that Magic Johnson was, everyone wanted to be like Mike…everyone!

What intrigues me the most is what will his relationship with Lonzo Ball be like on and off the court? …and will he be able to tame Lavar Ball?

Not for nothing, with the drama that revolved around the Ball family and their BBB brand, I wouldn’t be surprised if LeBron has some investment in the company.  Let’s not forget, he’s a businessman, with aspirations to be a mogul, and having BBB takeoff like a NASA launching pad just makes him look like a genius all while grooming Lonzo into an NBA Elite point guard.  But will Lonzo remain a Laker is the bigger question?  Let’s not forget Kwahi Leonard is still on the market and rumor has it, now that King James is in LA, I’m sure he wants in.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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On another note, now I’m really curious what LeBron was mumbling to Lonzo in their matchup last season, especially after the comments Lavar made about LeBron’s kids?  If you watch the video on YouTube, LeBron covers his mouth so the lip readers couldn’t decipher what he was saying, but whatever was said, I’ll bet the house Lonzo knew something we didn’t.

Other Free Agent Signings

Most considered Chris Paul and Paul George to be prime candidates that teams would go after in order to lure LeBron into town, but appears like CP3 and PG13 both have unfinished business with the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder; and just a year or two after the pulling the rug from under the Dallas Mavericks, Deandre Jordan is the last piece of what was a Clippers “Big Three” to leave town.

If you ask me, with the NBA power shifting to the West Coast, I think there’s definitely a master-plan brewing to take down the Golden State Warriors super-team and put an end to that dynasty.  Just wait, Kwahi will be next to join the Lakers and next season CP3 and PG13 will follow.  The Warriors have won three of the last four championships…I’d say the target on their backs just got bigger.

Michael Jereld