LeBron got left at the altar again by Paul George.LOS ANGELES – Yes, Kawhi Leonard is coming here to LA, but it’s just not to the team that most fans in LA had hoped for. And it’s not the team so many in the media were so wildly wrong about, either.
Leonard, the biggest, and most powerful, free-agent prize in this NBA off-season, will join the Los Angeles Clippers, not the Los Angeles Lakers.
Best of all, Paul George will be by his side after being traded to the Clippers from the OKC Thunder. With those two moves, the Clippers won the off-season like never before.
With all of the moves by the Clippers and Lakers today, the Staples Center just became the new Mecca of basketball, giving Knicks fans one more painful “L” to deal with. https://t.co/TyE7sCV56R
Yet the bigger story, the one not getting proper coverage, is how LeBron James has been left at the altar again.
James was in position to out-do himself and assemble a Big Three in LA for the ages. It was a group that would have put that Miami Heat to shame, and that’s saying a lot.
From the initial look of things, it certainly appeared that James had done it again. He was the mastermind, setting up a Lakers team with, arguably, three of the best five or six players in the League on one roster.
Instead of going out with a whimper in his career, with not much to look forward to as far as championships, some thought James would go out winning titles and reopening the case that he is, indeed, the greatest of all time.
But here’s a news flash: nobody wants to play with LeBron.
Now before you jump up and say “Anthony Davis”, let’s re-word it. Nobody who isn’t attached to his agent, Rich Paul, wants to play with James.
This is so obvious now.
The Lakers dream scenario was sitting on a golden platter for him, and all he had to do was grab it. The Lakers had James and Davis, mucho firepower, and they also had the money to pay Leonard.
Best of all, Leonard – the Finals MVP after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title – would return home to Southern California and play for the team children rooted for and wanted to wear the uniform of.
It was for those reasons that many, especially former players turned NBA analysts, thought it was a layup and James would be crowned again.
Most would have quickly grabbed this opportunity. Leonard would join a Mega Super team and have less pressure on him because LeBron would get most of the spotlight and the burden to carry.
Leonard would be able to win a lot easier and not have nearly as much stress on him or his body.
And, arguably biggest of all, the Lakers had the money to pay Leonard in full. It wasn’t like he needed to give a hometown discount to make his dream come true.
But what should have been an easy-as-pie decision was stalled and delayed. The longer it went, the longer you had to realize that Leonard would rather have not played with James.
Enter Paul George.
The NBA MVP candidate came to the rescue, saving both the Clippers and the NBA as a whole.
It was also the second time in just two off-seasons that George was the man blocking James from having his cake and eating it too.
In summer 2018, the Lakers thought that they had George locked up. He was a free agent and everybody knew about his desire to return home to Southern California and play for his favorite team as a kid, the Lakers.
But James arrived in LA first as a free agent and that’s when George’s bucket list changed.
Instead of coming home, joining the Lakers, James and all those young talented kids on LA’s roster, he shocked America and stayed in OKC.
Let’s face it. The Lakers had a better chance of signing Boy George than Paul George.
It was a decision that spoke volumes, honestly.
George had a chance to join James, arguably the best player on the planet at the time, and passed.
Kawhi was in a similar position this summer.
All he had to do was just say yes to James. Instead, Kawhi picked up the phone and called George, and he wanted to come home and play with Leonard – even if it meant playing for the Clippers, the second-class citizen in town by stature.
In the end, when James career is over and his LA portion is championship-less, you will realize the reason why was George.
Not once, but twice.