Don’t sleep on the new-look Clippers as a legitimate contender to sign the King this offseason.
By Jake Sweltz
It’s been widely reported that LeBron James’ son will be enrolling at Sierra Canyon High School just outside of Los Angeles. Most verified basket-bloggers have taken this as evidence that LeBron plans to sign with the Lakers. But I wouldn’t dismiss the other LA-based NBA franchise’s chances so easily.
Stop laughing. That’s right, I’m talking about the friggin’ Clippers. As a legitimate contender to sign LeBron this offseason. To play basketball. I said stop laughing.
To be clear, I fully acknowledge the inherent absurdity of a scenario in which LeBron actual James plays real NBA games in an official Clippers jersey. But hear me out; there are a number of factors suggesting this scenario might be more than science fiction.
- PROPERTY RIGHTS: LeBron already owns two homes in LA. If he signs with the Clippers, he can still make his move to Laker land without the pressure of living up to the Laker legacy held in place by the HOF’s who came before him. LeBron is savvy, and he knows that losing to, say, the Kyrie-led Celtics in the Finals after becoming “the next great Laker” would ruin his reputation.
- GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE: The Jerry West factor is not to be taken lightly. The Starters’ Trey Kerby mentioned that LeBron frequently brought up “basketball minds” during this latest playoff run. The Logo is just the type of next-level basketball thinker LeBron could jibe with. Plus, they already have a great relationship.
- EMPIRE STATE OF MIND: If LeBron wants to maintain a presence in the NBA after his basketball career is over as an owner or GM, he could eventually become the Magic Johnson of the Clippers. And who knows? He might even one day eclipse Johnson as a mogul. Imagine, the once-pitiful Clippers, controlled by the most heinous racist owner in the league, now a proud contender in the West with the greatest player of his generation at the helm? Sounds to me like a pretty sweet flip o’ the script.
- STAY FLEXIBLE: The Clippers have the 12th and 13th overall picks in this year’s draft, which they could theoretically package for an impact player or some other assets. Their roster is composed of mutable entities like D’Andre Jordan and Tobias Harris, plus a ton of flotsam. Can I interest you in a 2018-19 Clippers starting lineup that features LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Patrick Beverly? And besides, wherever he signs, LeBron will most likely ink a short term contract, as he did in Cleveland. That way, if the Clippers experiment doesn’t work out, he can always reset in 2020 with the Lakers or somewhere else for yet ANOTHER final act. If history has taught us nothing else, it’s that LeBron James is virtually indestructible (“pretty much broken” hand aside).
- THE RAINMAKER: We all know LeBron is precious with his Narrative. He knows if he can’t win more rings than MJ, he’ll have to tell a better story. Bringing a title to this cursed Clipper franchise would cement his legacy as a franchise rainmaker, someone who could enter an NBA desert like the Cavs or the Clippers and turn them into a champion.