The Los Angeles Lakers made perhaps the biggest free agency splash in nearly a decade by signing LeBron James to a four-year, $153 million contract. Not only did they land James, but they secured a longterm commitment from the game’s best player.
The Lakers then quickly moved to add veterans Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and Javale McGee on one-year contracts. Additionally, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was re-signed, also on a one-year deal.
While the Lakers grabbed free agency headlines, that was stolen away shortly after with the Golden State Warriors signing DeMarcus Cousins. The two-time defending champions were lauded for essentially replacing McGee with another All-Star in Cousins.
Over the last four years, the Warriors have dominated the NBA landscape, winning three titles in that span. So obviously, the Warriors, and Stephen Curry, know that any major move made in the league is one geared towards stopping them.
However, Curry specifically seemed unfazed by James’s departure to Los Angeles. In an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Curry discussed how even though the Lakers have James, the West, and really the NBA, still runs through the Warriors:
“I don’t know what they’re going to be as a team, because obviously it’s brand new and they don’t have their identity. But at the end of the day they’ll come together with Lebron leading the charge. At the end of the day, he’s in a great market, he’s in a great city, he’s around a great organization that has had a history of winning, he’s with (Lakers president of basketball operations) Magic (Johnson). It’s interesting for him to make a move. There’s a lot that’s been made about the competition in the West and his eight straight Finals appearances and all that, but that just makes everybody raise the antenna up a little bit – including us. It’s going to be fun for fans, playing (more) in the regular season and who knows in the playoffs. So the West obviously got stronger with LeBron but you’ve still got to beat us.”
The Warriors obviously have one of the best teams ever. And with their stunning addition of DeMarcus Cousins, they possibly boast one of the greatest lineups in the history of the sport. So Curry may have a point with what he’s saying.
But, of course, there are many reasons to never doubt James. He’s brought far worse teams than the Lakers current roster to the Finals and even to win a championship. Some may be puzzled by the moves made since the James signing.
However, the fast pace of play and outstanding playmaking will allow the Lakers to get easy opportunities to score. So, for now, the West may still run through the Warriors, but the Lakers might not be far behind.
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