For as long as LeBron James has been in the NBA, he has shouldered the load of both lead scorer and lead playmaker. With Father Time catching up to James and coming off a year in which he missed a career-high 27 games, he knows he needs to take a different approach in order to secure his fourth NBA championship.
After securing Anthony Davis in a trade, the Lakers now set their sights on Kawhi Leonard with a max slot open on their payroll. As one of the few teams to secure a meeting with Leonard, the Lakers front office is fairly confident of their ability to try and lure Leonard away from his championship team in Toronto.
LeBron James Could Offer Unique Free Agency Pitch To Kawhi Leonard
The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that James was actually willing to take a step back in terms of his role on the team.
The Athletic – Want him to be the third option, a playmaker who breathes a new and different life into their games while making sure there’s enough oxygen in the locker room for everyone? Consider it done. Want him to use that third eye on the floor to make Leonard and Davis’ jobs that much easier? He’d love to.
After the disastrous debut season of LeBron in Laker Land, where he missed a career-high 27 games (18 because of a groin strain) and missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 2005 after EIGHT consecutive Finals appearances, he has no illusions about the height of the stakes here or the part that he needs and wants to play. And according to a source close to James, it’s this focus on being an incredible teammate that will be at the center of his message to Leonard.
While it has yet to be seen on the basketball court, in theory, this idea should utterly terrify the NBA. James has never been a fantastic shooter and will happily defer his share of deep balls (and a sizeable chunk of his ballhandling duties) over to Leonard. LeBron can still collapse a defense and find the open man like no other in the league, so expect to see a ton of easy buckets for Davis and Leonard.
Essentially pitching Leonard on becoming the face of the franchise alongside Davis moving forward, LeBron is taking a backseat in order to maximize the talents of two of the best young players in the NBA.
Kawhi Leonard’s Epic Postseason Run
Leonard is hitting free agency at an optimal time as he is coming off a historic postseason run. Single-handedly carrying the Raptors at times, Leonard willed them past the Sixers with an epic game seven buzzer beater, sparked a come from behind upset over the Bucks, and then led the charge in dethroning the Golden State Warriors.
With the run, Leonard firmly plants himself in the conversation for the best overall basketball player on the planet.