Los Angeles Lakers: Pros and Cons of potentially signing LeBron James

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: LeBron James (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: LeBron James (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Even though there is a still a season to play before the 2018 offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James have been linked together. Here are the pros and cons for potentially signing James.

A lot can happen between now and next offseason, but many are anticipating where LeBron James will play for the 2018-19 season. The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be the hot pick for every fan and pundit. More places could create cap room to get LeBron, but only time will tell. Without further to do, let’s get into the pros and cons of LeBron James joining the most storied franchise in NBA history (sorry, not sorry, Boston).


1. Team instantly improves

Adding talent is hardly ever a con. Getting LeBron, who might still be the best player in the game a year from now, makes them an instant playoff contender. He also makes everyone around him better. Another star will probably join him as well, which would most likely be Paul George.

2. James makes the Lakers relevant again

Adding LeBron gives instant credibility back to an organization that has lost a lot of which over the past few years. It will make fans more excited and bring a lot of media attention. When the Lakers are good, the NBA buzzes more just like the Cowboys for the NFL and the Yankees for the MLB. The Lakers will also be a free agent destination again. This does not necessarily mean just stars will flock. Quality role players will also want to come to Los Angeles, contend in the playoffs, and enjoy the LA lifestyle.

3. Mentor to Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram

Even though Kobe Bryant was the ultimate, inefficient ball-stopper in his last few years, he was a good role model for the youngsters. They learned a lot just by watching the Mamba practice, prepare, and work like an all-time great. The same will happen with LeBron James. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram will soak in a ton from watching the King work. Unlike old Kobe, LeBron is a much more willing passer who will allow Ingram and Ball to go to work. This will not just make them better players, but also better leaders.

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1. Goodbye, Julius Randle

LeBron James at age 34, barring injury, will be better than Julius Randle will ever hope to be. However, Randle will be 24 going into the 2018-19 season. He is also in a contract year and will be a restricted free agent. In order to have cap room for two max players, the Lakers will probably have to move on from Randle either via trade or not matching offers from other teams next offseason. Getting rid of that talent will hurt especially since he is on the same timeline as Ball and Ingram.

2. Different Timeline

Usually in order to contend for the trophy, the core players need to be in their prime. If the Lakers get 34-year-old LeBron, neither he or the young guys will be at their peaks. If they get Paul George, then he will be in his prime. With that being said, it will be hard for the Lakers to contend when two of their starters are barely allowed to drink. Furthermore, by the time they become legitimate stars, LeBron may be close to retirement.

King James will also not want to play with a bunch of young players outside of Ball and Ingram. The Lakers will probably trade a lot of their young assets, including future draft picks. If LeBron does not come, those draft picks become more valuable because the team is worse. The Lakers could use those as trade pieces for younger stars like Anthony Davis or Karl-Anthony Towns.

3. Potential Contract

At 33-going-on-34, LeBron might stop taking short-term deals. The most the Lakers could offer is a 4-year max deal. The first year or two may look good, but the last two may be horrendous a la Kobe’s 2-year $48 million deal at the end of his career. It could vastly hurt the Lakers’ chances at further free agents and trading for key players on the block.

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All in all, the Lakers cannot just add two max players and expect them to contend for a title. Team building is much more complex. Personally, I would rather hold my assets and trade for more to get ready for guys like Davis, Towns, or Giannis to be available.

However, I do see the positives of adding LeBron James. Most importantly, we should all hope the front office sees both sides of the argument. It is doubtful the Lakers will win a championship with him while the Warriors are out there. Magic and Pelinka will have to decide if LeBron will usher in the next era of Lakers basketball in a better or worse way than the alternative of keeping and collecting young assets to acquire younger big fish.