LeBron James Was Told He Would Play With 2-Time Finals MVP on Lakers

Lakers superstar LeBron James on January 6, 2023

Getty Lakers superstar LeBron James on January 6, 2023

Former Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson told LeBron James that his plan was to sign Kawhi Leonard in the summer of 2019 when Leonard was an unrestricted free agent.

Johnson signed James in 2018 and was committed to building a championship roster around the King, who agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers worth $153.5 million.

Johnson’s plan never came to fruition since he stepped down from his position in April 2019. Leonard signed with the Los Angeles Clippers after leading the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 championship over the Golden State Warriors in six games, while the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Clippers had a big summer in 2019, acquiring Leonard and All-Star small forward Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The battle of LA was hyped up by many pundits and fans since James, Davis, Leonard and George are four of the best players in the NBA.

However, only one team lived up to the hype.

The Lakers Won the 2020 Title; The Clippers Choked in the 2nd Round

Behind James and Davis, the Lakers won the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat at the Walt Disney World bubble in six games. James averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists en route to winning his fourth Finals MVP, while Davis put up 25.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in his first Finals.

The Clippers and Lakers were projected to meet in the 2020 Western Conference Finals. However, the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. Both Leonard and George struggled in Game 7. The former finished with 14 points while shooting 6-of-22 from the field, while the latter put up 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting.

The Lakers haven’t gotten past the first round of the playoffs since winning the 2020 title. They lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2021 playoffs and missed the postseason altogether in 2022. The Clippers, meanwhile, reached the Western Conference Finals in 2021. However, they lost to the Suns in six games.

The Lakers & Clippers Have Struggled This Season

Both LA teams have struggled this season. The Lakers are only 18-21, while the Clippers are 21-20.

James is averaging 28.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists on the season. He’s still one of the best players in the NBA despite being 38. The four-time champion is eighth in the league in scoring, 12th in assists per game and 12th in player efficiency rating.

Davis was putting up spectacular numbers before suffering a stress injury in his right foot on December 16 against the Nuggets. The Chicago native was averaging 27.4 points and 12.1 rebounds. It’s unknown when Davis will return to the Lakers’ lineup.

As for the Clippers, their two stars have only played in 15 games together this season. Leonard has played in just 17 games. The two-time Finals MVP, who missed all of last season recovering from an ACL tear, is averaging 16.6 points and 5.9 rebounds. George, meanwhile, is putting up 23.7 points per game.

The Clippers are 2-0 against the Lakers this season. The two clubs will face each other two more times.

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