Scoop B: LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers is about basketball, brand and legacy

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James gestures after a basket during the second half of a game against the Washington Wizards, Friday in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Basketball Society’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson discusses LeBron James and free agency on Syracuse, NY 1260 AM The Score’s “The Manchild Show.” Press Play Below To Listen!

Earlier this week, my report at Basketball Society Online indicated that LeBron James will use his Uninterrupted platform to make his free agency decision announcement. Additionally, I reported that James will utilize the Instagram TV app to launch a trailer and/or documentary for a Space Jam 2 film that James’ Spring Hill production company had in the works and was greenlit by Warner Brothers.

Additionally, my source also informed me that said Space Jam 2 production would signal what NBA team James would sign with next month. That team is the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I’m 95% sure that LeBron James will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers,” my source told me by phone last Friday afternoon.

The 5% still remaining is contingent upon what happens with Kawhi Leonard who is still under contract with the San Antonio Spurs.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski reported last night that the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers have begun exploratory trade talks.

I discussed LeBron, PG13 and Kawhi Monday on “Hanging with Hendricks and Henning” on ESPN Radio’s 97.3 FM in South Jersey.

Paul George and LeBron James have been setting up shop for a while.  ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported this morning that Paul George informed his current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder that he will opt out of his current contract.

This season, James ran the Cavs’ offense, scored a ton of points, played assistant coach, GM and even sold some popcorn at concessions stands.

Cleveland is a great city. Loyal fans, great bars, excellent food and the film, “A Christmas Story” was filmed there.

But who wants to do all of that heavy lifting going into year 16? If you say that you would, you’re a liar, FYI!

The Cleveland Cavaliers, James’ current team have been preparing in case, LeBron leaves.

Last week, Cleveland drafted Collin Sexton with the eighth pick in last week’s NBA Draft. That eighth pick was the pick Cleveland acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade with the Boston Celtics, last summer.

If LeBron James is looking to cement his legacy upon rings, the roster of Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton is NOT ENOUGH to contend with the Golden State Warriors. LeBron played his tail off this year only to lose again in the NBA Finals.

And guess what? The NBA’s Eastern Conference has gotten more competitive.

The Boston Celtics, led by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, were within one game of beating James and the Cleveland Cavaliers and going to this year’s NBA Finals.

They did all of this without an injured Kyrie Irving who sat out in the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

A Philadelphia 76ers pairing of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid would be a fundamentally sound choice for James. However, there would be some adjusting. 

But who is to say that an assumed roster of Lonzo Ball, LeBron, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard is either?

The Houston Rockets would also be a great fit for LeBron James. He’d play alongside newly minted league MVP, James Harden, and his friend Chris Paul.

All points indicate that Paul will most likely re-sign with the Houston Rockets.

“LeBron James is not just looking to chase rings at this point in his career,” one NBA league source told me.

“He’s looking to cement his legacy as a mogul and business icon. Los Angeles makes perfect sense.”

That’s why the Space Jam 2 story or at least a trek to try something different in Los Angeles makes logical sense. He surely cannot leave Cleveland like he did when he had The Decision in 2010. Conventional wisdom says he won’t. Northeast Ohio is surely forgiving, after all, after he left ya’ll in 2010, you burned his jersey and welcomed him back with open arms in 2014.

He literally lived out one line in Jay-Z’s “Song Cry” when he said

“I was just f****** them girls, I was gonna get right back.” 

James left in 2010, won two rings with the Heat, came back and won The Land a ring in 2016, alongside Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and head coach, Ty Lue.

But in 2018, the next chapter is about here. The LA social scene, while living in suburban Brentwood, California, while enrolling his son, LeBron James, Jr. in a posh, Sierra Canyon High School is a no-brainer.

Who wouldn’t want the best for their kid?

Oh yeah, there is that playing for the Los Angeles Lakers thing too. 

At this point, LeBron James ain’t chasing Michael Jordan’s six rings; that was Kobe Bryant’s job. James is more Jay-Z than he is Michael, he’s good at what he does, is about lifestyle mixed with big business.

In fact, if James becomes a Los Angeles Laker, as my sources indicate he will, James will align himself with Laker Hall of Famer and front office executive, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who has made more money as an NBA executive than he did as a player.

Johnson is uberly respected and admired, trust me James, who plays a lot like him will absorb everything from him like a sponge.

Not uncommon for players to do that. NBA Hall of Famer, Isiah Thomas, a successful entrepreneur who once a popcorn company, champagne company, and a waste management company told me on the Scoop B Radio podcast that he learned a lot of business acumen from late Detroit Pistons owner, Bill Davidson.

For those keeping score at home, Davidson was President, Chairman, and CEO of Guardian Industries, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of architectural and automotive glass.

“Fortunately enough, he let me into his inner circle,” Isiah Thomas said of Davidson.

“I was able to travel with him, become very friendly with him, see some of his business operations and business dealing internationally, and once I became president of the Players Association I just started to understand the business of basketball, and the business of sports better.”

As for Magic Johnson, Johnson has had a successful business like his Magic Johnson Theater in Manhattan and Los Angeles. He’s also the owner of  Starbucks in Harlem and had an ownership stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers and.

Former Nike and Adidas executive Sonny Vaccaro, famously known for getting Michael Jordan to sign with Nike in the 80s, once told me that Magic Johnson is his hero. Vaccaro told me that admired Johnson’s second act as a businessman after his playing career and that he seamlessly transitioned from NBA player to global icon.

James next chapter is about legacy. He studies the game, respect the greats and sees life after basketball.

In 2010, he realized championships were important, that’s why he left Cleveland the first time and joined friends, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat.

Seeing Pat Riley win championship rings as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, visit the NBA Finals with the New York Knicks in the 90s and transition into a front office role with the Miami Heat where he won a ring is the ultimate clout symbol for James.

That said, the next wave is here. Kobe Bryant is no longer a Laker and Los Angeles seems to be the ideal next chapter of life for King James. It is that shiny new toy! Think Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy and potentially LeBron James on that Lakers purple and gold mantle.

Forbes Magazine’s Brian Mazique encapsulated the whole business side of things for James and company in a Youtube video that he posted earlier today.

Then there’s also the whole school situation for LBJ’s son. In an interview, NBA great, Gary Payton stated in an assertion that James’ son, LeBron James Jr., will be an incoming high school freshman. 

A week ago, I was told that LeBron James Jr. was looking to attend Akron, Ohio’s Copley High School, a local area high school. However, the town in which James’ residence is located would be considered out of the district.

I reached out to Copley High School’s athletic department about this rumor. At press time, they had no comment. 

Searching Copley High School and taking a cursory look on Twitter and seeing what ‘the internet’ had to say, I learned that James could pay out of district prices for his son to attend that school. I spoke to Akron locals on Twitter and learned that that process had been done before. 

A few notes:

My story via Basketball Society Online on June 13 stated:

A source familiar with LeBron James’ thinking told me this afternoon that the Cavs’ free agent-to-be will inform Cleveland whether he plans to stay or go, this Wednesday.

James, his representatives and Cleveland Cavaliers GM Koby Altman did speak about the direction of the Cleveland Cavaliers leading up to last week’s NBA Draft.

As per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on June 22:

Cleveland general manager Koby Altman said he and James’ camp have already established a “good dialogue.”

“We want to respect his space during this process,” said Altman.

“And I continue to have really good dialogue with his management team as he goes through that process. That’s probably all I can say at this point regarding him, but we don’t take him for granted. We love him, this city loves him. He means the world to us and this franchise.”

That dialogue is a formality that players and teams have at the end of an NBA season.

Former Cav, Kyrie Irving requested a trade during a meeting with Cleveland. However, the contents of that meeting were leaked.

As for LeBron James, there’s still that 5% left. Will Houston come into play? The Sixers? Cavaliers? Miami Heat? A new team?

Stay tuned!






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here