Lebron denies going to Lakers, but the pot is already stirred
By now, any fan or follower of the NBA is familiar with the article, Brian Windhorst, NBA writer for ESPN.com, published on Thursday about the Lakers eyeing Lebron James.
Hoopsvibe’s quick call: Talk about Lebron doing anything and expect the pot to get stirred.
Especially when you make a compelling argument that we all might see the leagues best player playing for the league’s most glamourous franchise within a matter of a few years.
In his article released Thursday, Windhorst cited the large amount of salary cap space the Lakers would have in 2014, the same year that Lebron can opt out of his contract with Miami, as the main reason his case could hold some water. He backed it up by saying many team executives told ESPN.com that they believed Los Angeles was getting set to make a run at James for that very reason. (Hoopsvibe notes: Bosh, Wade and Lebron all have the same opt-out opportunity in 2014).
So Windhorst made the case that because Los Angeles has the potential to take roughly $30 million for Kobe, $19 million for Gasol, $8 million for World Peace and a combined $7.5 million between Steve Blake and Jordan HIll off their books, they would have PLENTY of room to convince Lebron to take his talents to Tinseltown.
And considering that’s over $65 million in spending money, guess what? Like it or not, that’s not the craziest thing we’ve ever heard.
Whether you love or hate Windhorst’s article is frankly, inconsequential. His claim is powerful regardless. In the last day and a half, Windhorst completely set the media world on fire just by presenting the idea that Lebron could be wearing the purple and gold.
It’s understandable. Imagining Lebron playing for the Lakers, potentially with Dwight Howard, is borderline insane. The move to Miami was one thing; but leaving for LA would be another.
There were over 5,000 comments on Windhorst’s article by Friday. 5000. (My personal best is three). Reactions from complete disgust to genuine intrigue and everything in between were left in thousands of dialogue boxes of commentary at the bottom of the article.
Lebron was even questioned about the report after the Heat’s 105-78 preseason victory over the Pistons Thursday night. The league’s reigning MVP dispelled the notion saying, "I’m here, and this is what it’s all about," in classic diplomatic Lebron fashion.
The gang on ESPN’s First Take also dedicated some radio time Friday to talk about the Lebron-to-the-Lakeshow possibility.
(Check out the crew of one of my favorite sports talk shows hash it out here. Stephen A. kills it with his remarks.)
But consider the power of Windhorst’s article. 5,000 comments in a day, a six plus minute discussion on ESPN’s First Take, and an inquiry to King James himself. All from a speculative article about something that realistically has a lower probability of happening than not happening in two years time. The buzz the article created in such a short period of time is significant in and of itself.
Sports writing is just a hobby without its following, so I tip my hat to Mr. Windhorst for evoking such a response.
Kobe Bryant has already made it public that he could retire in a few years at 35, and if Howard decides to stay with the organization, it will be his team when Kobe’s gone.
But as Stephen A. Smith pointed out, "Even Kareem needed Magic." And you don’t have to be great at reading between the lines to figure out where he was going with that.
So is Lebron going to the Lakers? No one knows.
But thanks to Brian Windhorst, the world has at least two years to talk about it.
What do the Hoopsvibers think? Leave your comments below!
Image source: AP Images