LeBron To Lakers Not Guaranteed

The Lakers make sense for LeBron James, but Howard Beck isn't betting on it

Reiter Than You
June 30, 2018 - 3:15 pm

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As LeBron James enters free agency, there’s a strong sense that he is going to join the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, many people feel it’s a foregone conclusion, a certainty.

Howard Beck isn’t willing to go that far.

“I think nobody should feel like it’s certain,” the Bleacher Report senior NBA writer said on Reiter Than You. “I think that part would be crazy. I agree (many people) have the same impulse, the same gut instinct, the same rationale to believe that that’s a likely outcome – maybe the most likely outcome is LeBron going to the Lakers – but I wouldn’t bet anything on that or anything because we just don’t know. But look, there’s good reason for him to leave Cleveland for sure. And of the options out there, I think the Lakers make the most sense on a number of levels.”

The Lakers have missed the playoffs five years in a row and are coming off a 35-47 season. Going to L.A. would be distinctly different from James’ free-agency decisions in the past.

“If there’s one thing LeBron has not done – and I know people will dispute me on this – but he has not gone to an established contending team,” Beck said. “He went to Miami with Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade with no other roster around him, and they built that team up. Now they did it with high-level talent, but he went there to a team that needed to start from scratch. When he went back to Cleveland, the Cavaliers hadn’t been to the playoffs in four years. Kyrie had never been to the playoffs. Kevin Love had never been to the playoffs. They built that one from day one. 

“If he goes to Philly or Houston, he is going to an established team – a 52-win team or a 65-win team,” Beck continued. “That, he has not done before. I think he distinguishes himself and the decisions he’s made from what Kevin Durant did because Durant went to an established contender and LeBron has not done that. I think that’s meaningful to him. People can dispute that and say it’s the same thing. I think it is distinctively different and it’s certainly different in LeBron’s mind.”