LeBron Pairing With Lakers Was Meant To Be

Compared to joining the Miami Heat eight years ago, James's journey to Los Angeles is more embraced, Ian Thomsen says

Taz and the Moose
July 03, 2018 - 10:07 am

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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LeBron James is officially off the market.

Agreeing to sign a four-year, $153.3 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend, speculation and anticipation surrounding the four-time MVP’s third summertime decision has come to a conclusive end.

Speaking on CBS Sports Radio about the latest signing, NBA writer Ian Thomsen gave his take on the subject. Recently authoring a book titled “The Soul of Basketball,” which covered the 2010-11 season that saw James become vilified due to the tumultuous offseason spectacle that was “The Decision” — the live TV broadcast where James famously announced his intentions to take his talents to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat.

Comparatively speaking, Thomsen believes the public backlash is significantly minor this time around as James has learned from his previous mistakes during the summer of 2010.

“He learned a lot of hard lessons that year,” Thomsen said on Taz and the Moose. “He turned the whole basketball world against him. Everybody hated him for it. It’s just such a difference between him becoming a free agent now. He’s doing it very quietly with the press release as opposed to doing the TV show. He’s really learned a lot from the mistakes he made eight years ago.”

Thomsen views this pairing between James and the Lakers as a perfect match for the NBA, as well as the game of basketball as a whole.

“It’s sort of meant to be,” Thomsen said. “It’s just a great thing for the NBA and for basketball. I just think (the Lakers) are going to be back on top now, and eventually we’re going to see the Celtics and Lakers having another renewal of their rivalry. The Warriors, as long as they stay together, are going to have a great rivalry in California. I just think it’s a great thing all the way around.” 

Thomsen doesn’t view this free agency change in the same light as to what happened eight years. James was seemingly walking into an easy-to-win situation when he joined forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh at Miami, while the future in Los Angeles seems much less clear at the present moment.

“I don’t think this will be the same as Kevin Durant or even the same as when LeBron went to Miami because they were accused of going to easy situations,” Thomsen said. “LeBron is going in with Lonzo Ball and the father, so I just think it’s totally different.”