In the days that have followed All-Star forward LeBron James‘ decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers, there have been many questions as to why he chose the franchise over the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers.
With the four-year, $153 million contract now inked, James’ agent, Rich Paul, finally provided much clarity during an interview with NBA TV as to why the 33-year-old selected to make this jump in free agency that he has pinpointed as coming down to being purely a basketball decision.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 12, 2018
“To be clear, no one really knew what we were doing or what we wasn’t gonna do. There was a lot of speculation out there. We don’t have sources. For those that do talk to myself, I gave them as much information as I could, but for him, it was just a basketball decision. I think it was one of the biggest challenges this year. When he went to Miami, it was about winning a championship. When he came home, it was about delivering a promise. This one really had no footing.
“It was basically about what he wanted to do and what made him happy — and he earned that being in his 16th season. You don’t have athletes in their 16th season be the No. 1 free agent. That don’t happen. Normally in your 16th season, they’re trying to push you out of whichever league it is that you’re playing or you take a step down or you don’t get there, so my advice to him was do what makes you happy. Let me do my job in helping you understand the landscape. You tell me what’s important to you, and so I had his board ready.”
Although there has been much criticism as to what he chose to join the Lakers, these comments prove that much of the decision process came down to what James was best for him on the court as well. The team may not have had the roster that was close to competing for a championship, the roster does feature a few promising talents such as Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball.
There is also the appealing salary cap situation that the team has positioned themselves to be able to bring in additional talent this season in free agency, which they already have with several proven players on one-year deals such as Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee. The Lakers will also have the flexibility for next summer to be active participants in free agency to possibly go after top free agents such as Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, and Kevin Durant.
Ultimately, James chose what he felt was best for him both on and off the court at this point of his illustrious career.,