LeBron James will be an NBA free agent this summer, and rumors have run rampant for the last calendar year that the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar will at the very least consider joining the Los Angeles Lakers when he makes his decision on where to play next.
The way many have dismissed that rumor since it sprung up was by pointing out the Lakers’ record, that if they weren’t a playoff contender, why would James — who is closer to the end of his career than the beginning — want to sign there?
Well for one, the Lakers have been better than expected this season. The team has the 10th-best record in the NBA since Jan. 1, and has posted the 11th-best defense in the league this season.
Meaning that if their young core players like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and more are already showing this much potential in years one and two, they could theoretically help carry LeBron when he begins to age.
One subscriber to that theory is Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball, who in an interview with Delfi TV in Lithuania explained how his son could make life easier on James:
“His key thing is, he makes everybody around him better. Somebody said, ‘Oh, is LeBron coming?’ I said, ‘LeBron is coming to L.A.’ And I said, ‘Lonzo will make him better.’ And they look at me crazy. How is he going to make LeBron better? Easy. He’ll get him easier shots. Zo will throw him the ball with a mismatch in the post. Now he’ll play more in the post, easy buckets. Now he gets the ball earlier. That’s what Lonzo does. He makes everybody else better.”
To say that Lonzo would make James, a future Hall-of-Famer, ‘better’ is probably a stretch, but he potentially would make his life a bit easier while he begins to age.
With Lonzo, James would finally play alongside someone who might be close to his equal as a passer and might be able to spend a bit more time off of the ball to get easier shots out of the post like in the scenario LaVar describes.
Now whether or not LeBron, who drove Kyrie Irving out of town by not being willing to cede more responsibility to him, would even want a lesser role remains to be seen. However, if he does decide he wants to take a load off and let others help him, there would be worse teams to do it on than the Lakers.
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