Deja Vu All Over: Can A LeBron Who Can’t Go to Heat...

Deja Vu All Over: Can A LeBron Who Can’t Go to Heat Go to Lakers?


LeBron James, Kobe BryantUpdate from LAX: no Bron sightings, yet.

If Laker fans aren’t incredulous at the notion of LeBron James either leaving $110 million in Miami for $88 million with the Lakers to play with Kobe Bryant, who has to show he’s still Kobe, and would re-up cheap… you should be.

Of course, who thought Bron would agree to take $27 million less to leave Cleveland in 2010? Who thought Bron and Dwyane Wade would ever choose to play together? Who anticipated the Heat would stun the NBA by clearing room for three max players instead of two?

And who will have even more cap room in 2014 than Miami did in 2010?

The answers are nobody, nobody, nobody and the Lakers, respectively.

As in 2010, it won’t be decided by insider projections, much less Twitter preconceptions. A season’s worth of events will do that, leading up to the all-important last thing that happens. Months from the first thing that happens opening night, it’s too soon to say… but not to plan, as the Lakers are.

A lot of things would have to line up for Bron, Carmelo Anthony (‘14), Kevin Love (‘15) and/or Kyrie Irving (‘16).

If we’re just talking Bron, who heads the Lakers list, long shot or not:

1) Will Miami three-peat? When a parade is the last thing that happens, everyone goes home feeling warm and fuzzy, a key factor since Bron must trust Pat Riley to guide them through opt-outs and tax cataclysms. If the Heat falls, everyone will be muttering under their breath as Bron, Wade and Chris Bosh opt out, raising the next question:

2) Who will Wade be at 32? If he’s still D-Wade, Riley, who’s as great at this as he was as a coach, can reload around his Biggest 2. If Wade’s attacking style has led to dire forecasts since he was 25, that wasn’t the D-Wade of old in the Finals, even as he pulled himself together to average 24 in Games 4-7, up from 14 until then.

So we’ll see.

Without the Wade of old, Riles will be up against it, in which case:

3) Leaving will become an option for Bron…

4) At that point, a Bron insider tells me the co-favorites would figure to be the Lakers and Cavaliers. Conventional wisdom about who LeBron will and won’t play with was dead wrong in 2010—and may be again with Kobe in 2014. Bron’s peeps reportedly insist only one thing will count: Who gives Bron the best chance to win the titles–plural–he knows he’ll be judged by?

Bedraggled as the Lakers look at the moment, there are a lot of moments between now and crunch time.

All but forgotten—except by Riley, who sweated it out minute by minute—Wade almost bolted for Chicago in 2010, leaving an expansion team behind.

Instead, the Heat broke the bank at Monte Carlo, catching rival GM, agents and everyone else by surprise.

With other teams targeting one or two max players, Riley created cap space for three, giving away Michael Beasley, his 2008 No. 2 overall pick, getting the superstars to agree to $5M per season less.

Instead of $125M in Cleveland, Bron agreed to $98M. Only the Cavs’ bitter acceptance of a sign-and-trade got him to $110M, the same as Bosh.

Wade, who had held the Heat together for that moment, accepted $107M.LeBron James is crushing it right now

Heat 3, Preconceptions 0.

On July 9, 2010, the morning after James said he and his “talents” were South Beach-bound, horrified NBA fans awoke to a new reality… Bron, Wade and Bosh on one team… just as LB lit a fuse under world-wide hate in that day’s circle-er, welcoming celebration, counting down their forthcoming titles (“not one… two.. three… four… five… not six, not seven.”)

And it all started with a 2009-10 Heat team not unlike today’s bedragged Lakers, which went 47-35, then fell in five to Boston in the first round.

(The Lakers were 47-35 last season but let’s skip the modern trend toward charts, graphs and numerology.)

Signing Kobe and Pau Gasol for $5M each would still leave $53-54M under the tax threshold.

If it’s between them and Cleveland, the young Cavaliers, coming off win totals of 21-24, face the formidable vision of a reloaded Laker team.

But that’s then. This is now, even if long-running NBA FA sagas now have familiar narrative arcs.

Circa 2005-2008, fans were intrigued by the notion of Bron leaving… no one more than Knick fans who staged annual LeBronstock Festivals when he played there, ticking off everyone from Cleveland, with the notable exception of Bron.

From 2008-2010, the press, in its traditional role of ants at the picnic, arose with a near-unanimous, “LeBron won’t leave Cleveland.”

I don’t get them all right but I nailed that, noting the last thing that happened

portended trouble for the Cavaliers with their threadbare supporting case and title-or-nothing expectations.

It ended in a second-round loss to Boston with Bron playing left-handed because his shooting elbow was locking up while being branded “quitter” and “mercenary.”

In the good news for the Heat, there’s no way they lose to Boston in the playoffs this time….

I don’t think. Of course, that’s why they play the season, isn’t it?


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  • quickster007

    If you were to pick a franchise player Lebron would be the one. I can easily say when Kobe leaves this is the guy that can carry the franchise. If you get him you just need a center like Demarcus Cousin and Kobe along with Pau. Put bron at the point guard position al magic Johnson. Run the triangle, put Rambis at coach and Phil in the front office the lake show will be back.

    • wael

      what are you smoking dude! Phil will never be back with the lakers and Lebron isn’t coming to LA. But I like what you’re smoking.

      • Bob Thompson

        And no way in hell do we (Lakers) want Demarcus Cousin? Cancer, that dude is.

    • smoothaswilkes

      Why would you have LBJ play PG in the triangle? It totally marginalizes that position. He’d be better off playing Pippen’s role as a point forward.

      All that aside, Phil is not coming back. And no to Rambis as HC!

  • Jim213

    IMO, it really depends… if Lebron is about rings he’d stay… if he believes that he wants to make things right… he’d go to CAVS. If he wants to leave his own legacy… what better place! But other factors would also have to be involved like team depth and the team’s ability to be able to compete today than down the line. Although, the Knicks appeal more to Lebron than LA.

    Management should talk to Hollywood to offer Lebron some movie roles! I also believe that Kobe is starting to realize that he requires more help today than previously given his years in the NBA. IMO, Lebron is one of the only players that could possibly rip the leadership role away from Kobe. Yes, that’s what it’ll take for Kobe to pass the torch… it’s ripping it away. With Kobe, actions speak louder than words! This would be interesting to watch in itself… what SUPERSTAR is ready? Cry babies, (DH thankfully) need not apply.