It's no secret that many NBA pundits believe LeBron James could be headed to Los Angeles in the summer of 2018, as it has been speculated ever since Cleveland's crushing loss to Golden State in the 2017 NBA Finals.
One of those pundits includes the podcast GOAT Bill Simmons, who thinks LBJ going to LA is a near certainty.
And he doesn't stop there either. On the latest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Simmons explains how James could be teaming up with a trio of All-Stars for the Lakers.
“I do genuinely, honestly, truly believe LeBron will be on the Lakers next year,” Simmons begins. “I think that’s how this is going to play out.”
Simmons brings forth mutiple pieces of evidence to support his claims, starting off with the fact that the Cavs are still in win-now mode, aren't aren't really setup for long-term success.
“[LeBron] has not committed long term to the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Simmons says. “Everything they’re doing is kind of short term, win-now, fix-it stuff. They tried to shop Kyrie for help. They claim they didn’t, but they did. They shopped Kevin Love all over the place. I think they’re stuck with this year’s team.”
Secondly, LeBron has already fulfilled his promise of bringing a title to Cleveland.
“And win or lose, he brought Cleveland a title,” Simmons says. “He has an out. He can finish his career in Los Angeles.”
Finally, to round out the reasons why LeBron will be moving to LA, it'd make a lot of sense business-wise.
“His business is here, as we’ve discussed, his family has a giant house here, as we’ve discussed,” Simmons says. “And most important, they have a ton of cap space.”
“What if I told you that 12 months from now, LeBron James, Paul George, John Wall, and Boogie Cousins will all be on the Los Angeles Lakers together?” he says. “Conspiracy Bill has some things that he doesn’t like about what’s going on. I think the LeBron James–[to]-L.A. [story], he hasn’t come out and denied it. Everyone’s talking about it in the league, it became public last month. He knows they’re talking about it and hasn’t said anything. Hasn’t said, ‘This is ridiculous. I’m so tired of hearing this. I want to finish my career in Cleveland.’”
It is a bit strange that 'perfect public image' LeBron hasn't come out to deny these rumors, isn't it?
And Simmons didn't just gloss over the fact he thinks LBJ, PG13, Wall and Boogie could team up, no way. He explains it in-depth later on in the podcast.
“Here’s the interesting part,” Simmons says. “So, John Wall, represented by Klutch — Rich Paul — LeBron’s buddy. LeBron, it’s pretty clear he either owns Klutch or funded it or has a stake in it. You could have John Wall and LeBron. Paul George is going to the Lakers anyway. I mean, that’s not even a secret anymore. It’s just like, they might as well start selling his jersey. And I always thought John Wall and Boogie are a team.”
Even though Cousins is the least likely out of the four to make a move to the Lakers, you can't rule out the fact Wall and Boogie have been friends ever since their Kentucky days.
Bill Simmons brings up this decision from a business perspective again as well, describing how LeBron could become a billionaire in Los Angeles.
“[LeBron] came home, he brought them a title. He did an incredible amount of stuff with the scholarships in Akron and the college program. He’s amazing. It’s an unassailable resume if he leaves now. ‘I did my best, we spent a lot of money, and now I’m going to finish my career in Los Angeles and I’m going to try to become a billionaire.’ And I think that’s where this goes. I think he’s going to say, ‘My idols are Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. I believe I’m on the same level as those guys, and part of having an awesome career is the career after the career, and that’s what I’m starting to think about. I want to own an NBA team. I want to be a media mogul, I want to be a billionaire, and to do all this I have to be in L.A., and I’m going to go there now.’”
Finally, just to show he has thought of everything, Simmons even crunches the cap space numbers to make sure this whole thing is feasible.
“I feel like 2018, I think that summer they’re like, ‘We’re a package deal,’” Simmons says. “So they go to L.A. If [the Lakers] can get rid of the Luol Deng contract, use first-round picks [in a deal] just to get rid of them. I don’t think they’d have to use Brandon Ingram. The market for getting rid of a contract is a first-round pick at this point. So you have Lonzo under contract and Ingram, which is about, I don’t know, $11, $12 million combined.”
“Maybe like $96 million [in space] for the four guys,” Simmons says. “LeBron takes less. LeBron takes $20 because they secretly promise him 2 percent of the team after he retires. He’ll make up the money. $20 million, so he leaves, let’s say, $75 million for the other three. They split it up, $25 million a piece. And the 2018 Lakers — John Wall, LeBron, Paul George, Brandon Ingram, Boogie, and Lonzo off the bench. That’s something.”
That definitely is something Bill. And it may be so crazy it might just happen. I mean, we never thought Kevin Durant would join Golden State, but yet, here we are.
You can listen to the full Bill Simmons podcast here.