The new look Toronto Raptors are dangerous
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It’s hard for me to imagine LeBron James donning the purple and gold in 2018.
On Friday however, he took the next step towards that possibility by opting out of his contract with Cleveland to become an unrestricted free agent, meaning the four-time NBA MVP can sign wherever he desires for 2018.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been the favorite to land LeBron for multiple weeks now and the odds are only increasing, but it’s still hard for me to buy into the hype.
The first reason is one that everyone has been talking about when it comes to LeBron’s next destination, the notorious West.
It’s hard to imagine LeBron leaving the East. He’s made the finals eight straight years and other than this season, usually in relatively easy fashion. It's a daunting challenge to have to face the Rockets or the Warriors in the conference semifinals and then possibly the conference finals.
I think that this is definitely a negative, but not an insurmountable obstacle in the mind of LeBron.
The other part of my thought process has to do with who the Lakers are as a franchise.
In the early 2000’s, the league used to be all about Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Then came LeBron, and he played in some epic bouts against Kobe as he morphed into the legend that we have all come to know.
For most of his career, the LeBron-Kobe debate was a legitimate one. But as Kobe’s production started slipping, coupled with LeBron reaching his prime at the same time, the debate fizzled.
Still, when LeBron was a young star on the rise, you know he was circling those matchups with the Lakers on his calendar, looking forward to matching up with one of the best players to ever do it.
Lakers fans have cheered against LeBron for the past decade.
I’m sure the majority of them would accept him with open arms because of the potential success he can bring to Los Angeles, but I know other fans have mixed feelings about it and I think LeBron does too.
If LeBron chooses to play out his career as a Laker, you know everyone will be comparing his Lakers statistics to Kobe’s. Even if it’s just what they did on the court for the Lakers when they were the same age, Kobe is going to officially be brought back into the argument of the best NBA player again. LeBron detractors will compare the rings Kobe won for the Lakers to what LeBron did or didn’t win as well.
While LeBron and Lakers fans probably don’t feel the same way about each other as they did in 2007, it will seem a little bizarre to me if LeBron decides to head to Los Angeles.
Kobe was the face of Los Angeles for so long, and it's hard to believe that LeBron may be off to that city to try to win championships for the Lakers. More and more although, it's starting to look like that's exactly what's going to happen.