The NBA Finals ended last week with “SuperTeam: 2017 Edition”, winning in a landslide. The Golden State Warriors easily dispatched LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. Kevin Durant’s mission is complete. He signed with The Warriors to chase a title, and in year one, he got it. Not only was Durant merely part of this championship, he was the best player on the court, which at this moment makes him the best player on the planet. As great as Steph Curry is, it is now Durant’s team. The Warriors have won two of the last three titles and it looks like they’ll string a few more together before they end this run.
So where does this leave LeBron James? He’s now 32 years old and entering the second year of a three year contract with The Cavaliers. The way The Celtics and every other Eastern Conference team looks at The Cavs is the way James must look at the Warriors: realizing he can’t beat them. So what does he do…after all, he originated bolting a team for greener pastures, chasing a ring.
He does have a player option at the end of the 2017-18 season. There’s mounting speculation that after next season he will jump ship again, this time for the pacific coast and join the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s no secret that Paul George wants to play there as well, which would create two thirds of a “Big 3” and another SuperTeam.
Aside from being one of the game’s all-time greats, James is also one the game’s most savvy players; on and off the court. Leaving the Cavaliers and going to the Miami Heat was the smart and savvy move. Going back to Cleveland was the savvy move. And leaving them again, after next season will be the savvy move…but not for The Lakers. James has no doubt looked at the landscape and knows the Western Conference is by far, the more difficult of the two. Before even making it to the Finals, (A place where he’s been for seven consecutive seasons), he’d have to go through the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, and/or Los Angeles Clippers, before even dealing with the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Why would he want to put himself through that on the backside of his career? Realistically he has four to six more seasons before hanging it up; and his main competition has a younger core of players, led by a 29 year old Durant.
There’s no way he’s going to ANY team in the West. So where DOES he go? Why not the Boston Celtics? Could it be, that Celtics GM Danny Ainge has been angling for this situation? The NBA draft was Thursday night and the Celtics traded away the #1 pick, (Markelle Fultz), to gain an additional pick next season or the season after that. He is building for the next four to six years…hmmm. The Celtics already have a terrific nucleus of players, who did finish the 2016-17 season with the #1 seed over LeBron’s Cavaliers. What if James determines that the Cavaliers don’t have what it takes to get over Golden State, and again lose to them in next year’s Finals.
He lookseEast and sees a Celtics core which has dynamic scorer and playmaker Isaiah Thomas, solid all-around player Al Horford, exciting young player Jaylen Brown who’ll be entering his third season; and hard nose defensive players, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. He’ll also see newly acquired forward Gordon Hayward; (educated speculation), to go with Jayson Tatum, and a top lottery pick in either 2018 or 2019. What if he determines that that the Celtics have been the second best team in the East to his Cavaliers, and going to them will not only get them past the Cavs, but put him in the best position to now defeat the Warriors?
I think much of the James to the Lakers talk is based on the history and tradition of playing with them. James is a student of the game and very knowledgeable of the game’s history. The most decorated team in NBA history is the Celtics, not the Lakers. And, let’s not forget what number James wore when he was with the Heat…#6, in honor of Celtics all-time great; Bill Russell. Also, anytime he played the Celtics in a playoff series, he always showed great reverence toward the franchise. I believe he has a fondness and great respect for the Celtics organization, and wants to be the next great Celtic, helping to give Boston banner #18…#19…#20: well you get the point.
And one final thought; wasn’t LeBron’s high school team name The Fighting Irish, with kelly green as the team’s colors, with a shamrock as a logo??? I’m just saying, don’t be surprised to see LeBron James in a Celtics uniform to begin the 2018-19 season…one thing certain, he won’t be wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform.
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