Counterpoint: Too Many Moving Parts for LeBron to Join Lakers

Doug Upstone

Monday, June 18, 2018 5:44 PM UTC

Monday, Jun. 18, 2018 5:44 PM UTC

This is the summer of LeBron James. All eyes are on him and seemingly endless possibilities of where he could go. In Phase One of where LeBron could go, let's examine Los Angeles and the Lakers.

From the start, it was always assumed LeBron James would end up being with the L.A. Lakers. James has a home there, rumors have his children ready to be enrolled there and once his basketball career ends, his production company will get his full-time attention.

But James is a basketball player first and one who wants to win championships and play with what he would consider a peer group wherever he would go.

Currently, the Lakers with LeBron are an idea, not a winning formula. Though 5Dimes has an NBA prop that lists "Team LeBron Will Play First Game of 2018-19 With" as the Lakers with the lowest odds at -135, there would seem to be too many puzzles pieces that have to fit together, at least in the first year.

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NBA Rumors: LeBron James is reportedly '100 percent leaving' the Cleveland Cavaliers next summerhttps://t.co/Id88AqL8UD pic.twitter.com/d3PkD1Jf1y

— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) August 16, 2017
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Remaking Lakers Will Not Be Simple

While it seems a certainty Paul George is going to La-La Land to wear gold and purple, the former Pacers star might be more hesitant than before after his uncomfortable experience in Oklahoma City. That situation did not work at all and George has to realize he will have to give up a part of his game to play with James. If the goal is to win championships, maybe it's worth it because he would get paid the same either way. However, based on his last experience of playing second fiddle, that might not work.

The new aspect to all this is the report Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio. The rumor mill is spinning ferociously about Leonard being traded to the Lakers, which could set up a power trio of James, George, and Leonard. (That's JGL, which has a nice ring to it.)

However, San Antonio has to do what's best for them when it comes to Leonard, and do they find the pieces on the Lakers roster that would allow them to retool? And even then, coach Gregg Popovich will be 70 during next season and how much longer does he want to continue?

While all the facts from Leonard's injury have never come out, the divide was created by the Spurs' medical staff and Leonard and his people having a differing opinion on what was best for the team and him. Does Leonard want to be the lead dog of any franchise? Or would he find a way to coexist with James? Loaded questions for sure.

I know SBR colleague Swinging Johnson thinks this can work out, but if the Lakers have to trade Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Lonzo Ball (likely two for sure) for Leonard, where are the auxiliary pieces when the Big 3 are not on the floor together?

Plus, barring injury, at best the Lakers would be the third-best team in the Western Conference, still behind Golden State and Houston. James wants to win now and being in the West would probably include having to defeat the Warriors, Rockets and the best from the East to capture a title. Good luck trying to make that happen.

Read why Swinging Johnson thinks his vision is clearer regarding LeBron.
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