Despite another incredible season, LeBron James finds himself as one of the most polarising figures in the Los Angeles Lakers franchise.
Some sections of the fanbase still believe ‘The King’ is the man to help bring another championship to Tinseltown, while others are ready to cut bait and embrace a youth movement with an eye on sustained success moving forwards.
However, LeBron still has another year to run on his $44 million deal, so unless the Lakers decide to trade one of the most influential players in league history, he will be on the team for at least another year.
“With four titles, all these MVPs, gold medals, plus he will be the All-Time leading scorer (in league history) within the next year. I think he values going home at the end of a game and being happy. And even with all these losses in Los Angeles, he is happy. I don’t think he wants to go anywhere,’ Brian Windhorst recently told Rich Eisen.
Kevin Love Sounds Off on LeBron’s Long-Term Future
LeBron’s immediate future might be in Los Angeles, but things start to get foggy beyond his current contract. Father Time isn’t on LeBron’s side anymore, and with each passing year, the curtain call on his career edges closer.
Sure, LeBron will likely remain in the NBA until his son Bronny has completed his first season as a professional – that’s an open secret at this point. Still, then, he will ride off into the sunset, with a place among basketball’s Mt. Rushmore secured.
“I feel like it would be cool if it were one of those things where it was a one-game type of thing. So, if people asked, ‘where did you finish your career’ he can be like, ‘oh, I finished it in Cleveland.’
Obviously, I know he wants to have a Kobe-type exit, where he scores 60 and does his thing. And he probably will. Where it will be, nobody knows. But, at the end of the day, I think retiring a Cav, for him, the city, Akron, Ohio, I mean, that statue, I can’t wait till that goes up, I’ll be there,” Kevin Love told Taylor Rooks during an interview with Bleacher Report.
For a player who has already begun to edge into a movie career, returning to Cleveland for one last time would certainly be a Disney-style ending for one of the NBA’s most prominent characters.
Russell Westbrook’s Future Still in the Balance
After arguably his worst season as a professional, Russell Westbrook looks like he will be on the move again this off-season – as the Lakers look to free up some cap space to begin reshaping their roster.
Rumors continue to swirl, linking the veteran guard with the New York Knicks. However, nothing concrete has come out of either camp at this early juncture. Shockingly, out of the Westbrook, LeBron, and Anthony Davis trio, only Westbrook was consistently available for selection throughout the season.
Still, a lack of shooters meant that the veteran guard could not play his usual “grab-and-go” brand of basketball and was forced into a role that didn’t suit his skill set. Frustrated fans then began to turn on Westbrook, and the relationship between the two entities quickly deteriorated.
Now, it’s just a matter of time until Westbrook is sent packing to a new team, and the Lakers begin to make moves to repair their broken franchise. However, we can all expect LeBron James to still be the shining light of the next iteration of this roster, at least for one more season.