There’s a whole plethora of reasons LeBron James decided to move on from his Cleveland Cavaliers this summer and join one of the most notable franchises in sports history.
Suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers will enable James to play for a franchise that boasts some of the game’s greats, current president Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant included.
Looking at a career in the entertainment industry as a producer following his NBA career, Los Angeles offers the allure of Hollywood. On the court, these Lakers are a young and entertaining product. It’s much different than the Cavaliers squad James left.
But was winning a title one of James’ biggest reasons for joining the Lakers? According to his agent, Rich Paul, it wasn’t.
“In 2010, when he went to Miami, it was about championships,” Paul told Sports Illustrated. “In 2014, when he went back to Cleveland, it was about delivering on a promise. In 2018, it was just about doing what he wants to do.”
Despite being hailed as top-end title contenders, the Lakers themselves are not close to competing with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. The roster is still very much a work in progress. James knows that. It’s not necessarily about next season as much as it is about the future.
By signing a four-year deal with an opt out after three seasons, James is in this for the long haul. And if we were to ask Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, it’s all about a long-term vision.
I asked Rob Pelinka if there was consideration given to giving Julius Randle a long-term deal. He noted they didn't do any multi-year deals other than LeBron. "We did identify going into this offseason to keep cap flexibility going into 2019."
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 11, 2018
The pressure is certainly on King James to bring a championship back to Tinseltown, but it’s readily apparent that said pressure won’t be hanging over James this coming season.