In 16 NBA seasons, Los Angeles Lakers forward, LeBron James has won three NBA championships with two teams.
What makes James’ journey unique is that he has taken shorter deals with teams while he was still in his prime.
Signing with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer seems like a chance for James to win a ring and cement his name with one of the greatest NBA franchises.
Shaq did it, Kareem Abdul Jabbar did it.
“Shaq, wasn’t traded here but he came here mid-career a free agent, so I think Shaq’s probably a good comparison, ,” ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“But the thing about what it felt like this year, it probably felt like when Dwight came here. At the time when Dwight came here, he was traded, so that’s a little different in that LeBron chose LA, but when Dwight came, theoretically, Dwight had said “I will resign with the Lakers, I guarantee I will re-sign there because they traded for me” But when it happened, it took him a little while to warm up to LA, took LA a little while to warm up to Dwight, he had an injury thing at the beginning of the year, remember when he was sitll coming off of back surgery? I still think he should have sat out a lot longer with that back injury, I still think if you look at Dwight’s career, and I don’t think he’s done a good job at articulating this, but that back injury really messed him up, I don’t think he took enough time to heal from it and I don’t think he prepared people enough for how limited he was going ot be, coming off back surgery, but you know, that’s why it kind of reminds me of LeBron because LeBron had a pretty serious injury this year. Let’s call it what it is, he tore his groin muscle, for a basketball player, that’s pretty intense, right? That’s a serious type of injury, and I just don’t think we got to see the full LeBron.”
The Los Angeles Lakers are sitting in 11th place in the NBA’s Western Conference and won’t be making the NBA Playoffs.
They’ll enter this summer looking to make a splash in NBA Free Agency this summer.
The Lakers purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019 where several NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan are expected to become unrestricted free agents.
“I like being uncomfortable in the offseason,” LeBron James told The Athletic’s Joe Vardon. “I like being counted out. It motivates me.
“I’ve had basically the same offseason training regimen the last eight years,” LeBron added. “I knew how long I wanted to rest for the season on a short timeline. I’m figuring out now how to get as much as I can out of two months of extra time for training. It requires a totally different strategy. We’re looking at it in an entirely new way.”
Indeed, James’ groin injury did change the trajectory on things.
“He didn’t really get to do his thing on the court,” Ramona Shelburne told the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“He didn’t really get to do his thing connecting with the fans and his teammates and the city and kind of all of the above. I would say when Dwight was here, that’s what it felt like, and also, the big issue for Dwight was that is was Kobe’s team, and he wanted to know when it was going to be his team, when it was going to transfer over, and he got the impression from the Lakers that there was no hurry to do that, especially with how Dwight performed and how the team responded around him, he’s gone, he’s out. Now, that’s what I have with LeBron, he’s signed for four years and I think he’s as happy with how this went as anyone, I don’t think LeBron blames anyone for this, and so I thought about it, but that’s more of what it feels like, this first year didn’t go so well.”