The Los Angeles Lakers have not had a bona fide superstar since Kobe Bryant retired at the end of the 2015-2016 NBA season. Since Kobe’s retirement, the Lakers have failed to acquire a superstar, despite the fact that they are the eighth most valuable sports franchise in the world, with Forbes Magazine estimating their net worth at $3.3 billion. In fact, the last time the Lakers were able to sign a superstar was back in 2012 when they signed Dwight Howard, which coincidentally was also the last time the Lakers made the playoffs. But after their longest playoff drought in their 70-year long franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers finally seem ready to bounce back and reclaim their place as one of the most dominant teams in the NBA, and this was all done through the signing of LeBron James.
The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and three-time NBA champion chose to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as soon as free agency started, signing a four-year deal worth $154 million. Lakers fans finally have the star they’ve been lacking since their hero Kobe Bryant retired. Lakers fans can finally dream once again about the playoffs. However, LeBron James, who left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Lakers, does not immediately transform the Lakers into a championship contender. The last time the Lakers made the playoffs was back in 2012-2013 NBA season, the year the Lakers signed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Since then, the Lakers have consistently been one of the worst teams in the league. They reached their lowest point during the 2015-2016 NBA season, when they went 17-65, the worst record in their franchise history. During their most recent 2017-2018 season, the Lakers went 35-47, with their rookies Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma showing glimmers of hope of becoming future superstars.
In addition, the Lakers have not had any other major signings since LeBron James. In fact, the rest of the Lakers’ free-agency signings have been a little bit odd, as they signed JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, and Michael Beasley, four players known more for their personalities and trolling rather than their actual basketball skills. And even if the Los Angeles Lakers do well, they would still have to beat the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors in order to reach the NBA Finals.
But that is no reason for Lakers fans to be unhappy. The Lakers are still projected to make the playoffs, and they have the fourth-highest odds to win the NBA title in 2019, behind the Warriors, the Celtics, and the Rockets. The Lakers have a strong young core, with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma. Add in the veterans like Luol Deng and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Lakers have built a strong foundation around LeBron James. And don’t think LeBron James will slow down anytime soon. He has been to eight straight NBA Finals, and last season, in fact, was the first time he played in all 82 games, finished with one of the great individual postseasons in history as he dramatically carried the outmanned Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, where they would eventually lose to the Golden State Warriors. After all, it is still the opinion of many that LeBron James is still The King, and has the ability to single-handedly carry the Lakers to their 17th Larry O’Brien trophy.
Lakers fans, rejoice. LA-Bron is really happening.
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