LeBron James blows up teams
Cleveland, Miami, and Los Angeles will all have the same thing in common; long rebuilds after LeBron James leaves. That’s because, in all three of those locations, the same thing always happened. James had his friends get big deals, he had players who were good and young get traded away for aging veterans, and he never committed long enough to give the team a chance to build properly around him or move him to recoup costs.
See, James hates the idea of getting traded, so he’ll never commit long-term to anyone. That way the team is forced to constantly gut itself to keep him happy, hoping he’ll re-sign. This happened twice with the Cavaliers, it mostly happened to the Heat and it’s happening right now, in real-time, with the Lakers.
The Cavs gutted their rosters twice (three times actually) to keep James around. It may have gotten them a title but it also cost them eight years of collected misery. The Heat had winning or two after he left, but that was mostly a fluke, with guys like Josh Richardson and Goran Dragic leading the way. Flukey. They weren’t a real contender again until they got Jimmy Butler.
The Lakers traded away Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart. They let Alex Caruso leave in free agency, and they don’t have their own first-round draft pick for the next few years.
The Lakers are in trouble, they have no youth, no defense, and no shooting, but they got Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Yet, had James been patient, he’d have two 20-point scorers in Hart and Ingram still, he’d have a multi-positional forward in Kuzma, two all-world defenders in Ball and Caruso, and oh did I forget to mention? A double-double machine In Ivica Zubac.
Don’t forget about the Clippers big-man, who not only pulls down 10 points and 8.5 rebounds per game but is one of the best defensive bigs in the league. James’ insecurity with young players, and his impatience is perpetually his biggest opponent. The Lakers may not make the playoffs with this roster currently but had they kept Ball, Caruso, Kuzma, Ingram, Hart, and Zubac, this is a team that’s heading to the Western Conference Finals to face the Warriors.