Three-time NBA champion LeBron James made one of the biggest headlines during the 2018 NBA offseason when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time as an unrestricted free agent to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Since the controversial free-agency decision, James has been frequently questioned about his real intention of signing with the Lakers’ team that has been one of the worst teams in the league in the past years and has a roster mostly consisting of young players.
LeBron James has said on numerous occasions that there’s only one reason why he joined the Purple and Gold which is to win multiple NBA championship titles there. However, some people aren’t buying his explanations, including Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce. In a recent interview with Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Pierce said that James’ decision to become a Lakers isn’t a straight-basketball decision but more of an “after-basketball decision.”
“I said that when he went to this team,” Pierce said. “I was like, it wasn’t a straight basketball decision. Based on the roster, this was an after-basketball decision. They had an opportunity to make the team better, but based on how the team was when he went there, that wasn’t about basketball.”
Paul Pierce believes that the controversy surrounding his real intention for joining the Lakers is one of the major reasons why LeBron James is not getting much appreciation from their fans in Los Angeles. This is proven by the Lakers’ fans reaction at Staples Center when James surpassed Michael Jordan in the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
“Well, he’s not,” Pierce said. “I mean, you think about all the great Lakers. They came up with them or got traded there and then were there for long years. You know, he accomplished this feat in his first year, and then on a team that wasn’t even in the midst of a playoff run anymore.”
It’s easy to understand why some of their fans haven’t fully accepted LeBron James as a Laker. James just played his first year and hasn’t made significant achievements for the Purple and Gold. To win the heart of their fans, James must fulfill his promise to bring the Lakers back to the NBA Finals and win multiple NBA championship titles.
However, that is easier said than done. To have a legitimate chance of fully dominating the deep Western Conference and bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the Lakers need to have a tremendous improvement on their roster. Luckily, the Lakers have plenty of ways to surround James with a better supporting cast in the 2019 NBA offseason. The Lakers have enough salary cap space to chase at least one big name who will be available on the free agency market and a plethora of trade assets that they could use to acquire a superstar in a blockbuster deal.
The 2018-19 NBA season is far from over, but the Lakers have already been linked to several NBA superstars including Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, and Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics.