The memes and the jokes wrote themselves. Shortly after LeBron James announced he would sign a four-year, $153 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday evening, his longtime ear-whisperer, Lance Stephenson, agreed to become his teammate.
Then came a deal with JaVale McGee, who’d been reimagined as a rim-protecting alley-ooper with the Golden State Warriors after spending much of his career one wrong move away from Shaquille O’Neal’s lowlight reel.cheap nfl jerseys china
And on Monday, the coup de grace: One of the only point guards in the league whose shot is as fluky as Lakers youngster Lonzo Ball, who shot 36 percent from the field and just 30.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc last season, arrived with the famously prickly Rajon Rondo (46.8 percent FG, 33.3 percent 3-pointers).
Everything you thought you knew about the type of cast James preferred to play with — good shooters to stretch the floor around him, high basketball IQ veterans who could match wits with him — suddenly seemed off.
Just what in the hell were the Lakers doing?
Here is the answer: exactly what James and Lakers president Magic Johnson planned when they met for more than three hours on the first night of free agency. According to multiple sources within the Lakers and close to James, this is the rollout of a plan Johnson outlined for James the night of June 30 at James’ home. The subsequent deals, which sources say James has consulted on but have been executed at Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka’s direction, follow this vision.
It may seem like an unconventional plan, considering current trends. It may be a plan that takes time to come together, especially early in the season, when new habits will be tested. It may, in fact, be a plan that ultimately fails.
But the Lakers are indeed attempting to chart a new course for James’ Lakers future, one that is vastly different from the style of basketball he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Unlike most free agents changing teams, LeBron is arriving with the Lakers as an all-time great,” a source close to James said. “He doesn’t have pressure to prove anything. He wants some changes, and he can afford to let the process breathe.”official nfl jerseys cheap
The Cavs were a team of specialists — many of them shooters — who were placed around the league’s ultimate Swiss Army knife. But at times, especially during the playoffs, it did feel like James was playing 1-on-5 and needing to play 48 minutes because he was the team’s only true creator and playmaker.
Cleveland also prioritized shooters and offense-minded players ahead of defenders and steadily sunk in the defensive rankings over the past three seasons, bottoming out as the No. 29 defensive efficiency team last season. This became a liability at times, particularly against the juggernaut Warriors.