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Stay with the Lakers for another superstar signing next summer. Or not. What ever. You can only add a free A-List Agent anyway. There will be a lot to do.
But where are they going?
Putting James in Los Angeles has triggered no seismic shift within the western conference landscape. Rival players and teams should fear the Warriors and Houston Rockets, and perhaps even the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz, before recognizing the existence of the Lakers.
Really, James's presence in the West means less than his absence in the East.
Kudos to the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and, at least for the next season, the Toronto Raptors. They are all able to make a (probably useless) run to the NBA Finals after the demise of James' one-man dynasty. But none of them make their mark as this insurmountable superpower.
The Celtics come pretty close, but somehow, a core built around Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford does not create the sense of hopelessness that has instigated James for eight years. (Seven, if you look at last season's cavaliers as a happy anomaly, which is fine.) Even if they could, their run, not unlike the time of the Raptors with Leonard, could prove fickle.
Horford (player option), Irving (player option) and Terry Rozier (restricted) can all become free agents in 201
It would have been hard to get through LeBron, but he is a GOAT. The warriors were and remain a dynasty that takes their step.
Removing James from the picture could finally do the trick. The East is asking for a new Alpha, and the Warriors still exist.
Can Butler see a chance to flirt realistically with an NBA Finals cameo while playing for a coach that will not let him run until the cartilage disappears in his knee? Could Klay Thompson make the Warriors' intolerable tax bill easier by deciding to test the merits of his fame as Alpha in an East Coast squad? Will higher-level players like Trevor Ariza, Marc Gasol (player option), Tobias Harris and DeAndre Jordan go for a stack in a weaker field?
Will Leonard stay in the East, even if he does not? Stay with the Raptors? Does that also apply to Horford, Irving, Khris Middleton and Kemba Walker? People near Durant, when asked to do so, have predicted " that one day he will leave Golden State for a team that can truly be his," Lowe said. Can the same train of thought be applied to a whole conference that really is his?