The Los Angeles Lakers won the biggest prize of the 2018 NBA free agency after succeeding to convince LeBron James to sign a four-year deal worth $153.3 million. However, before James made a decision, he reportedly gave the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Philadelphia 76ers strong consideration in free agency, according to Harrison Faigen of SB Nation.
“I did my due diligence after the season on the pros and cons on a lot of different teams, including the Cavs and including Philadelphia, including Houston and Los Angeles. So it wasn’t as quick as it may seem. It just wasn’t July 9 like it was before. So after talking to my family more than anybody, I felt like this was the next step in my journey. And what my expectations are for the team, we don’t have any right now. But we definitely want to be better than we were after the previous year, and we want to have championship [habits].”
It is not a surprise why LeBron James considered re-signing with the Cavaliers. Cleveland is his home and they are the team who drafted him No. 1 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. However, after fulfilling his promise to give them their first NBA championship title, James finally thinks it’s time for him to go on the next journey of his life.
Speaking on ESPN (h/t SB Nation’s Harrison Faigen), James admitted that he “thought long and hard” about the possibilities of teaming up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia or playing alongside Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston. Both the Rockets and the Sixers undeniably have a better chance of winning an NBA championship than the Lakers. However, James wanted the challenge of bringing the Purple and Gold back to their former glory.
I am so proud of this project. Athletes and artists get to have a real, uninterrupted discussion the way we always do. Politics, race, culture, music fashion…all of it. #IAmMoreThanAnAthlete https://t.co/TcpwJ38ANW
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 26, 2018
Now that he is playing for the Lakers, James could be facing the biggest challenge of his NBA career. The 33-year-old small forward spent the last eight seasons playing alongside other NBA superstars like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. However, this year will be very different. In his first season in Los Angeles, James will be surrounded by young and talented players like Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Ivica Zubac, who are yet to have an experience playing in the playoffs.
James may be considered the best basketball player on the planet, but the Lakers need to add more star power in order to compete against Western Conference powerhouse teams like the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, and the Houston Rockets. Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka are definitely aware of their current situations, but they want to see first how their young core will perform playing alongside James.