Days before the 2018 NBA free agency started, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN reported that LeBron James texted Kevin Durant about teaming up next season. Durant’s departure in Golden State to play with LeBron is definitely something most Warriors fans don’t want to happen since it could be a major threat to their dynasty. Luckily, the first week of July concluded with KD re-signing with the Warriors and James joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
Even with the addition of LeBron James, it remains a big question how the Lakers can beat Kevin Durant and the Warriors in a best-of-seven series. Aside from James, their roster is mostly consisting of young talents and role players who will need time to build a good chemistry. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the only way the Lakers could challenge the Warriors is to convince Durant to sign with them next summer.
In free agency, the 29-year-old small forward signed a two-year, $61.5 million deal to return in Golden State. Like the last offseason, the contract Durant signed has a player option in the second year, enabling him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. As everyone knows, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019.
LeBron James has still yet to speak publicly about his move to the Lakers, but agent Rich Paul said Thursday night it was "just a basketball decision." https://t.co/gpXOX3fgSI
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) July 13, 2018
The 2019 NBA free agency will be featuring several NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, and DeMarcus Cousins. As Lowe noted, Durant should be the Lakers’ No. 1 free-agent target next offseason. Lowe believes the Lakers’ acquisition of Durant in 2019 is the “single best play to even the playing field for LeBron.”
LeBron James may have been labeled as the best basketball player on the planet, but the 2017-18 NBA season proved that he could not win it all alone. With the emergence of numerous “Super Teams,” James needs another superstar like Kevin Durant to bring the Lakers back to their former glory.
The departure of Durant in Golden State is undeniably a huge loss for the Warriors and a big win for most NBA fans in the world. With the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors will still be one of the top favorite teams to win the NBA championship title. However, they will not be as unstoppable as they are when they still have Durant. This will bring back the thrill and excitement in the league as the future NBA seasons will be less predictable than the last two years.