Here we go again. The Celtics and Lakers are title contenders at the same time. The Hollywood connection is apt because we’ve seen this movie over and over again. The same script but with different actors and directors. Some of the former actors (Danny Ainge and Magic Johnson) are now, in fact, the directors.
In case you missed the news retweeted across the universe, LeBron James is headed to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. It isn’t yet clear who else could be following him there. There’s still a good chance that Kawhi Leonard gets his wish and gets traded there any minute now. There’s rumors that the Lakers are interested in DeMarcus Cousins on a short term deal. Things have yet to shake out before we can fully take stock of the Lakers new roster. If you remember, James was headed to the Cavaliers long before the team was able to work out the Kevin Love deal.
Still, one thing we know for sure is that LeBron James is no longer in the Eastern Conference. The path to the Finals just got easier. The Sixers still loom as a current and long term threat to the Celtics and they happen to also be in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes. They’ve already missed out on courting Paul George, will they push their biggest chips onto the table at a potential rental situation or will they continue to Trust the Process?
Meanwhile, out West the Lakers will still have to contend with the defending champion Warriors and the Houston Rockets. Regardless of who he teams up with, LeBron may not be a favorite to reach the Finals again.
With that said, if he does, there’s a decent chance that he could be facing off against his old teammate Kyrie Irving. How fun would that be? You talk about fun scripts; this is the part of the movie where the hero meets his nemesis and they have that moment where they lock eyes. In that moment there’s so much pent up emotion, determination, and even mutual respect. Even the regular season games will be even more must-see-TV than they usually are when the Celtics and Lakers face off.
The quick decision by LeBron means that the offseason is off and running and additional dominos will be falling. Will the Cavaliers be content keeping Kevin Love or do they move him in favor of kick starting the necessary rebuilding process? There’s not a lot of money to go around to free agents on the market, so there will be very good players available on cheap prices. Maybe one of them will decide that a year in Boston with a chance at a Championship would be a good use of their time, even if it means taking a below market deal.
The Lakers (as they do) just stole all the headlines by grabbing the biggest name in basketball. Will James be able to get the help he needs to get past the team that just swept him in the Finals? If so, it could very well set up another chapter in the storied rivalry with the Boston Celtics.
LeBron vs. Kyrie. Kawhi (?) vs. Hayward. Ingram vs. Tatum. This could be a whole lot of fun. The script has been written. The roles are being filled. I can’t wait to see what kind of twist this next chapter puts on the series.