Lebron James bought a second house in Los Angeles. Lebron James’ son committed to a high school in Los Angeles. Lebron James loves the bright lights of Los Angeles. Lebron James must be joining to the Lakers right? While it may seem obvious, there’s another team that might share a lot of similarities to the Lakers who could be the dark horse in the Lebron James sweepstakes.
If you couldn’t tell by the “similarities” I eluded to, I’m talking about the Lakers’ next door neighbors, the Los Angeles Clippers. Ever since their inaugural season in 1970, the Clippers have been one of the worst organizations in sports. They’ve been through draft busts, underperforming teams, and even a notoriously racist owner. Even with the “lob-city” big three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan, the Clippers failed to make the conference finals.
Lebron James isn’t here to break curses. He’s here to win championships, so what can the Clippers offer him that the Lakers, Cavs, Spurs, Heat, or any other team in the running can’t?
Lebron James loves the chance to lead, especially with flexibility. We’ve seen it time and time again. Lebron James wasn’t happy in Cleveland, so he departed for Miami for the opportunity to create a team he wanted to play alongside with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. When he got bored with that superteam, he returned to Cleveland for the opportunity to play alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
The Clippers, knowing that without Lebron they will continue to live out the Clippers curse with a mediocre team lead by Tobias Harris and Austin Rivers, will throw everything they possibly have at Lebron. According to Netsdaily.com, the Nets were willing to clear as much cap space as Lebron wanted to lure in “whoever James wanted as a sidekick.” Look for the Clippers to make a similar “all-in” move for the King.
If Deandre Jordan opts out of his contract, the Clippers have the money to offer a max contract. In order to clear up more cap space, the Clippers could waive Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanonavic, and Wesley Johnson if necessary. If Lebron chooses to play alongside Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers could offer a package of Tobias Harris, their two first round picks, and/or Patrick Beverley to San Antonio.
Magic Johnson is the man behind the decisions for the Lakers. The Clippers need that guy, and (crazy as it sounds) Lebron could be that guy for the Clippers creating one of the greatest rivalries of all-time.
Marketability and Rivalry
The Lakers and Clippers literally play in the same arena. If the Clippers can attract star talent, there’s nothing holding them back from evening themselves with the Lakers. Imagine Lebron James and Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers matching up against Paul George, Demarcus Cousins, and Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers on a Christmas Day Game, or even matching up in the playoffs.
The marketability and rivalry of not joining the Lakers, but HATING the Lakers is unquantifiable. If; not if, WHEN the Lakers form a superteam, they will be hated. Lebron could be loved for not taking the easy way out. The Clippers could be America’s team, and Lebron could be their commander.
Most Importantly, a Certain Someone…
Perhaps more important to Lebron’s decision than anything, is a certain executive board member with the Los Angeles Clippers, formerly with the Golden State Warriors. Lebron James even reached out to that executive board member directly after his embarassing sweep in the finals for media advice.
If you couldn’t tell who I was talking about, that executive board member is the NBA logo, Jerry West. West has experience in luring all-time great players to all-time great teams. Prior to Kevin Durant joining the Warriors, West gave him a pitch he couldn’t pass up. The man is a genius, and could certainly throw a Clippers jersey at Lebron in the coming offseason.