Lakers News: Rich Paul Thinks LeBron James & Stephen Curry Being Out Of Playoffs Early Can Be Good For NBA
LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Lakers, Warriors
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the most iconic NBA Finals matchups were between Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Stephen Curry when the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors met in four straight years.

While the Warriors won three out of the four matchups, the Cavaliers notably came back down 3-1 to secure their first championship in franchise history in 2016. Since those four years, parity has been at an all-time high in the NBA, however, as teams are not repeating as champions anymore.

Now, there may be a tide turning as new stars emerge and James and Curry near the end of their careers. James and the Lakers lost in five games in the first round, while Curry got eliminated in the Play-In Tournament. However, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul believes these two superstars being eliminated early can be good for the NBA, via Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report:

“Look, you can’t take anything away from ‘Bron and Steph. They earned the right to be front and center. They weren’t put front and center because of their looks; they were put front and center because of their production. They won. It was Golden State and Cleveland in the finals for four straight years.

“So the league needs that, but the league also needs new faces. LeBron went to eight straight finals and 10 out of 21 years, which is incredible. Steph has four rings and turned a franchise around that was in the lottery every year. You need those storylines, but you also need new storylines. That’s the balance. New rivalries will be established.”

It is certainly an odd feeling seeing respected champions experiencing postseason struggles, but it is the harsh reality of today’s game. Especially in the Western Conference, many teams are emerging and ready to contend now, which results in some upsets come playoff time.

All things considered, Paul brings up some good points as this postseason run has featured some new faces in the Western Conference Finals. With Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving nearing a Finals appearance, a young Indiana Pacers team getting to the Eastern Conference Finals and the Minnesota Timberwolves making the Conference Finals for the first time in 20 years, so fresh faces have been on the biggest stage. It is harder now more than ever to compete for a championship, let alone repeat as champions, which is good for the league moving forward.

76ers eyeing LeBron James as potential free agent destination

With the Lakers being eliminated early, it has given LeBron James an opportunity to rest and prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics in addition to making a decision on his $51.4 million player option and potentially entering free agency. Should the four-time champion test the market, the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to have interest as a possible destination with cap space.

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