Could it be the team that is having the best postseason is actually one of the teams not playing? Yes, so far everything has gone perfectly for the Los Angeles Lakers heading into the summer.
The rumor that LeBron James could take his talents to Hollywood is approaching its one-year anniversary, and the chances are looking up based on the what has been taken place recently.
The Lakers needed three things to happen in the playoffs: struggles from Cleveland and Oklahoma City, and success from Philadelphia. So far so good.
Obviously the Cavaliers have had a rough go so far. There’s way to spin it, things are a mess in Cleveland. They are struggling mightily against a pedestrian Pacers team. It has forced James to turn back the clock and become a one-man show as he has received little to no help from his supporting cast.
Coming into the postseason, everyone knew Cleveland’s issues, but there was some belief they could flip the switch come playoff time. That switch has not being flipped. Combining that realization with the level of talent surrounding LeBron, the age of the roster and the awful cap situation the team is in and the future looks bleak. The Lakers can offer a much more desirable destination this summer compared to anything Cleveland can reasonably provide.
Weeks ago it looked like the best thing the 76ers could do to increase their chances of bringing in James was to show him they could dominate the East with his help. The problem is, they have shown they can own the East without him.
The 76ers look to be head and shoulders above the rest of the East on talent alone. Possibly two years ahead of schedule, the 76ers currently have the best odds to win the conference.
The fact that the 76ers could be the first team in seven years to prevent LeBron from going to yet another Finals actually works in the Lakers’ favor. Philadelphia has gone from a team that could increase LeBron’s chances of winning a championship to a destination that will define him as a “ring chaser” and someone who could disrupt the flow of the young team.
In his 16th season, would LeBron want to join a situation that will come with immense pressure and a strong possibility of being the guy who stunts the growth of Ben Simmons?
It never made sense for LeBron to join the Lakers unless he could come with another All-Star or borderline superstar. That other star has always been rumored to be Paul George. George has been playing well this postseason, despite his team’s struggles.
Whether the Thunder can climb back into their series against Utah or not, they will be going home sooner rather than later. Therefore, the chances of George going to Los Angeles are rising by the minute.
The Lakers may not be playing, but they are winning. Nobody knows what LeBron James will do this summer, but everything that has happened this postseason has made the Lakers look like the best option this summer. The fourth team in the equation, the Rockets, remain a dark horse that does not make much sense for a variety of reasons.
The LeBron to the Lakers meter just got hotter.