LeBron James is coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. And now once again, we’ve reached the “Summer of LeBron.” Will The King stay in Cleveland, where he brought them their own title in franchise history? Or will leave the Cavaliers again?
The first time James left, he joined forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a “super team” in Miami — ultimately netting him his first NBA championship. They failed to do so in 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks, but went back-to-back against the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
Then in his last season as a member of the Heat, he was trounced by the Spurs in five games. Following a 2-2 NBA Finals record in Miami, it was the end of this super team. Once again, James headed back to the Cavaliers in hopes of getting them to the NBA Finals. Fast forward to the present, and we’ve all seen James make it to and play in eight straight NBA Finals. Which, by no means, is an easy task. You can argue and say that the East is a weak conference, of course. But he’s had some battles against Eastern Conference opponents, including a seven-game series against the Boston Celtics.
I’m not going to waste your time and bring up his dominance in the East, though. Instead, I’ll offer a new wrinkle to his legacy: let James go to the Western Conference.
For the sake of this argument, let’s say he joins the Houston Rockets. His friendship with Chris Paul is a strong reason I believe he will end up there next season. Yes, he’s joining a very talented Rockets roster that already has James Harden leading the charge. But you can watch him for a full 82-game season battle the West on a consistent basis. With it comes the constant battle for playoff seeding, home-court advantage and the occasional game versus his old teams.
And then when playoff time rolls around, that’s when the fun really begins. Instead of meeting the Warriors in the Finals, he’ll no doubt face off against them in the Western Conference Finals. On the way there, there’s a number of teams he could face — including the Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
If you’re the type of person that just tunes out the Eastern Conference playoff series because you ultimately know he’s going to win every series, then this is for you. Because in my opinion, it’s going to change the mindset of what you think about him. You still may hate the man, but if he were to make it to the NBA Finals out west — the clearly better conference — then you have to tip your hat.
Plus, it would finally give a new team to make it out of the East.
Now, a change of scenery is common for most players throughout their careers. James already left once, so odds are he’s going to leave again.
Honestly, even if he were to join the Spurs or Lakers, he makes whatever team he’s on infinitely better. Not to mention, Spurs head coach Greg Popovich is trying to force a recruiting meeting with the man.
Remember when Kyrie Irving was the man in Cleveland when healthy? They had a losing record and didn’t make the playoffs.
With a 3-6 Finals record, most people have already cemented that record as the fact he will never be the GOAT — or better than Michael Jordan, for that matter. And that’s fine. After all, that’s a really hard point to argue.
Though, Shannon Sharpe tries to on a daily basis. But enough about all that. I say let him go out West and watch him play. Perhaps he plays another 82 games again. The competition is fierce in the Western Conference, and he’ll want to conquer it. James has never shied away from a challenge. And this is a challenge I think most people would want to see. Just don’t join the Warriors, please…