We know this. LeBron James has decided to take his talents to Tinseltown. But that’s not the only storyline here. Big name free agents across the NBA landscape have made gargantuan waves. And their contracts aren’t necessarily small either. Millions upon millions of dollars have been thrown at these guys as if they rule the universe itself. Maybe they do?
- Chris Paul (Houston Rockets) — four-year, $160 million contract
- Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder) — four-year, $137 million contract
- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) — five-year, $148 million contract
- DeAndre Jordan (Dallas Mavericks) — one-year, 24.1 million contract
As for James, he made things official on the first day of NBA free agency (July 1st). He would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers in the rear-view mirror yet again with the hopes of helping Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers deliver more championship banners to the rafters of Staples Center. With his decision, King James could only get a measly four-year, $154 million contract. I don’t know about you, but I’m in the wrong profession. I want some of that cheddar.
Okay, LeBron or L.A.-Bron is the best all-around player on God’s green earth. In my mind, that’s simply a fact. I’m guessing this highlight reel has you agreeing with me on this one.
Of course, the Lakers didn’t stop at adding just James to the mix in Hollywood. Head Coach Luke Walton’s squad added point guard Rajon Rondo, center JaVale McGee and shooting guard Lance Stephenson to the crop as free agent acquisitions. There will be no more animosity between James and Stephenson now that they’re paired together. Here’s a good look at the discontent that LeBron and Lance had for one another while Mr. Stephenson was a member of the Indiana Pacers.
With the Lakers looking like contenders out West during the upcoming 2018-19 Orange Roundball League season, where does that leave the almighty Golden State Warriors in the grand scheme of things? Well, in position to win their fourth NBA title in five years, of course. Their core of the Splash Brothers & Co. is still intact. That’s correct. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson haven’t gone anywhere, and the likes of Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, etc. still inhabit the Warriors’ locker room. Are you serious? Yes, I am. McGee signed with Los Angeles to help LeBron, but the rest of this championship team is chomping at the bit to hoist yet another Larry O’Brien Trophy.
And look who just got added to Golden State’s roster. Perennial All-Star center DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins will be joining the juggernaut. At the biggest bargain the league may ever see, Cousins signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract to play with the defending back-to-back champs. The 6-foot-11 and 270-pound young buck — still just 27-years-old — hit the jackpot with this literally minuscule salary. This young man has averaged a double-double throughout his eight years in The Association. Does 21.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per night spark your interest? It sparks mine.
Sure. Boogie does bring some negative baggage with him to the Bay Area. Years of bad behavior, as well as the recovery from an Achilles tendon tear back in February, might be a concern to many. But the Warriors’ gamble should pay huge dividends down the road. Let’s be honest, just being around Curry, Thompson, and Durant will remedy Cousins’ immaturity. Factor that with Golden State’s ability to bring back Boogie with caution from injury, and this franchise just keeps getting richer.
No matter what unfolds in this upcoming NBA season, the battle between the Lakers and Warriors will be a thing of beauty.