It’s been well-publicized the struggles LeBron James has had in the NBA Finals over the course of his career.
The Kid from Akron is 3-5 in the Finals, a mark that is often brought up by his detractors when comparing him to some of the game’s greats. These detractors will continue to bring up LeBron’s losing record in the Finals as long as it is 1. Negative and 2. Has less than 6 in the wins column.
Playing in the East has been both a blessing and a curse for LeBron’s career it seems. With the East being very top-heavy, but also due to the greatness of LeBron, he has made the Finals eight times playing in the Eastern Conference, something he may have arguably not been able to achieve in the much tougher Western Conference.
That part is the blessing.
The curse is that due to the strength of the West, when LeBron eventually DOES make it to the grandest stage in basketball, he goes up against teams that are much better than teams he faced in the previous rounds of the playoffs. Throw in some all-time great teams such as the 2014 Spurs and 2017 Warriors, and what you have is LeBron’s 3-5 Finals record.
But what if King James had had enough of losing in the Finals and further tainting his illustrious resume? Maybe a move West could be on the cards to salvage his unsightly Finals record?
Rumors have been circling the NBA atmosphere regarding LeBron making a move West to Los Angeles at the end of the 2018 NBA season, as James feels as though he has achieved what he came back to Cleveland for, that being winning a championship in 2016.
Maybe the glitz and glamour of LA isn’t LeBron’s type of scene, especially considering the fact he’s getting up there in age. Maybe the quiet life of The Alamo is more Bron’s style?
James has stated before back in January that Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich is the greatest coach of all-time, meaning LeBron obviously respects him somewhat, and that respect could lead to an urge to play under one of the most dynamic coaches in NBA history.
“To be able to do what he’s done where the basketball has changed so much and he’s been able to have a growth mindset and change with the game [is impressive],” James said. “We went from a league where it was inside out, where every time you came down it was throw it to the big, and then it goes to every time down pick-and-roll, and then it goes to every time down shoot a 3.
“Pop has been able to adjust every single time and still, for some odd reason, keep those guys under the radar. I don’t understand it.”
A move to San Antonio would also alleviate LeBron’s Finals record issue.
LeBron would be joining a team that obviously plays in the West, and was going to be Golden State’s toughest opponent in last season’s Western Conference Finals on their way to the Finals before Kawhi Leonard went down courtesy of Zaza Pachulia.
With a healthy Kawhi beside him and the combined basketball IQ of himself and Popovich, the Spurs would be top 2 favorites in the West for the foreseeable future, and would definitely be giving the Warriors a run for their money every year.
If they manage to overcome the roadblock that is Golden State, they would cakewalk through whichever Eastern Conference team made it to the Finals, be it Boston, Milwaukee or Toronto.
And if they lose? LeBron can take solace in the fact that his 3-5 Finals record won’t be changing to 3-6 or worse, as the Spurs could only run into the Dubs on the Western Conference side of the bracket, not at the pointy end in the middle.
If San Antonio can trade away LaMarcus Aldridge’s $43 million contract by next offseason, expect LeBron to have a good hard look at Kawhi and Pop if he does decide to leave Cleveland.