Let’s get Swinging Johnson's take on the LeBron-to-L.A. scenario and how it could vault the Lakers from pretenders to contenders. Of course, SBR colleague Doug Upstone thinks otherwise.
Former NBA star Gary Payton broke the news that LeBron Jr. has committed to the Sierra Canyon School, the chosen destination of Scottie Pippen’s and Kenyon Martin’s basketball progeny, an exclusive private school that fetches about $35,000 per year located in a suburb of Los Angeles. Sierra Canyon has not confirmed this juicy piece of information but if true, would give a major hint as to where LeBron will be plying his trade next season. Oh, and let’s not forget about the cool $27 million James plunked down in December for his second home in the Brentwood neighborhood.
LeBron collects houses like I collect bills – monthly – so even a mammoth investment like that may not truly tell the tale. However, it’s all adding up to King James holding court in Hollywood and although it may not be the ideal destination to forge another championship season, it will dramatically impact the NBA odds board when it comes to L.A.’s chances of unseating Golden State as the league’s superpower. As of this writing 5Dimes, one of the industry’s leading online sportsbooks, has LeBron landing in a Lakers’ uniform at -135 followed by Philadelphia +375, Cleveland +475, and Houston +800 as the top destinations.
But Why the Lakers?
If winning a championship is first and foremost on LeBron’s mind, then suiting up as a Laker may not be the wisest choice. But then again, LeBron may very well be of the mindset that regardless of which team he chooses, that club has a very good chance of winning it all. All we have to do is look at Cleveland before and after his arrival.
Nevertheless, Los Angeles like Miami is a scene. It’s glitzy, glamorous and decadent, replete with beautiful people driving cars we’ll never afford and living lives we’ll never understand. It’s an opulent coterie of the uber rich living in glass houses who throw bouquets, not stones, and one so meticulously coiffed to LeBron’s enormous stature as a legendary athlete who has transcended into a multimedia superstar. He may have been a kid from Akron but now he’s a man of the world, and there are only a few locales that will sate his cosmopolitan tastes. One of those just happens to be the City of Angels.
As of this moment, if you were to choose the Lakers to win the championship in your NBA picks, an investment of $100 would net you $800 at 5Dimes. Those odds seem curiously low when considering that the Lakers didn’t even reach the postseason this year and ended with a 35-47 record. That tells me something is brewing and the thought of LeBron playing in Big Baller Nation is enough to make any fan of the circus squeal with delight. LaVar Ball believes his son Lonzo is the moon, the stars and the center of the universe so don’t expect any hero worship coming from the Big Baller impresario. When the L.A. spotlight is fixated exclusively on LeBron, you can bet that LaVar won’t be content with his son playing a bit part to the King’s leading role and then the fun begins.
My SBR colleague Doug Upstone is on the other side of the fence and is convinced that the Lakers will not be LeBron’s destination of choice. Perhaps there is a case to be made for Philadelphia, Houston or even Cleveland, but to rule out L.A. is a bit short-sighted. Then again, Doug has never been accused of wearing rose-colored bifocals so it will be interesting to read why he believes LeBron James won’t be added to the list of star-studded luminaries who have graced the hardcourt as a member of the Lakers.Ready why Doug Upstone thinks LeBron's top priority makes Lakers a bad fit.