LeBron Updates Free Agency
July 1, 2018
Please ignore reports I screamed like an unanesthetized dental patient upon learning that stellar forward Paul George, presumed to be bound for the glorious Los Angeles Lakers, instead signed to stay a few years on the arid plain of Oklahoma City. I confess I did shout in pain but the source was physical rather than psychic: I kicked a hole in the wall, using a shoeless foot. My right fist is only now recovering from the haymaker I delivered to a marker board after the referees had fleeced us in game one of the NBA finals against the ghastly Golden State Warriors.
I’m much too stable and stoic to dwell on psychological devastation. Instead, I at once work to resolve problems and am currently doing so as my representatives today meet with owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, proud host of current stars and future legends Ben Simmons and Joel Embid. The 76ers certainly want me, as any team would, and are in financial position to proffer a max contract as well as the chance to compete against the Warriors next year. I’m confident fanatics in Cleveland understand I shall not submit myself to another thrashing by a demonstrably more talented team. I need some gunslingers.
I’m about championships and don’t need to live in Los Angeles year round at this stage. I might have liked to and someday, in retirement, probably will. I don’t rule out doing so right away, but the City of Brotherly Love beckons and the Lakers, as yet, have not done enough. I admire their young nucleus of bullish Julius Randle, versatile Brandon Ingram, sharpshooter Kyle Kuzma, and playmaker Lonzo Ball. Nevertheless, many times a day I reflexively ask myself this question: with these young and unproven guys, can I beat the Warriors? I know we’d be good. We’d be in the playoffs. But I doubt we’d have enough against either Houston or Golden State, at least not next year. Why would Paul George stay in Oklahoma City where, I assure you, he’ll never sniff a title? Frankly, I care not. Ingram and Kuzma will from this point produce more in the NBA than Palmdale Paul George.
So what must the Lakers do to enchant me more than the 76ers? I’d likely look West if Hollywood’s team trades Ingram and Kuzma for mysterious former superstar Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio. That trade will not, on the court, look good in five years. But in the interim it could enhance my trophy case and that of the Lakers. Kawhi in SoCal would create a front line of Randle and James and a starting backcourt of Ball and, perhaps, Josh Hart, a strong guard who can shoot and rebound. I’d bet on such a team. Even without Kawhi Leonard, I might join the Laker lads, knowing they’ll grow enormously next year and we’d attract a dynamite free agent in 2019. We’d even attract more good, but not great, players this summer.
Perhaps, though, I should sign a one-year deal and try to win right away in Philadelphia. I must do something creative or continue to have nightmares about Kevin Durant and the Warriors, whom, I wager, aren’t having the nightmares about me that I’m determined to induce.